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Ronnie O'Sullivan withdraws from Welsh Open citing mental health concerns

Posted : 10 February 2024

Ronnie O'Sullivan, the world number one in snooker, has opted to withdraw from the upcoming Welsh Open, citing mental health concerns and "stage fright." The 48-year-old recently pulled out of the German Masters as well, emphasizing the priority of his "health and wellbeing."


O'Sullivan, a seven-time world champion, revealed on social media that he has long grappled with anxiety-induced stage fright, making it challenging to predict or control. Despite apologizing to ticket holders, he believes abstaining from competition is currently the best decision for him.


Expressing regret for his withdrawal, O'Sullivan, who has already claimed victory in the Masters and UK Championship this season, acknowledged his ongoing struggle with stage fright and anxiety. He conveyed his inability to perform when feeling this way and expressed gratitude for the understanding of fans.


O'Sullivan, known for his candid opinions on the snooker schedule, emphasized the importance of managing his mental health. Despite not participating as a player, he expressed a desire to contribute to the Welsh Open by working as a TV pundit at Venue Cymru.


As a result of O'Sullivan's withdrawal, Scotland's Liam Graham will step in to face Welshman Dominic Dale in the first round when the Welsh Open commences on Monday, 12 February. The snooker legend's decision sheds light on the broader conversation around mental health in sports, underscoring the challenges faced by athletes and the importance of prioritizing well-being over competition when necessary.


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