Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 29 March 2015

Players moan but £150k not bad for seven games of snooker

Ronnie O'Sullivan had a rant about the new format for the UK Championships
Ronnie O'Sullivan had a rant about the new format for the UK Championships

It's good enough for Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, but not for the world's best snooker players.

The top players have been moaning about having to play two more rounds than usual – among a litany of other complaints – at the revamped UK Championship in York.

That means 128 players are involved and seven victories are required to win the tournament – exactly the same as tennis players face at the Grand Slams.

The two extra matches are against players ranked well below the elite top 16, so should in theory be very straightforward for the big guns.

Ronnie O'Sullivan, Judd Trump, Graeme Dott, Stephen Maguire and Ali Carter have all had a rant about the £700,000 tournament.

However World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn was certainly in no mood to massage bruised egos.

"The 128 draw stays, that is the future for the UK event. Get used to it or get another job," he rapped.

"Players and purists have this attitude that I'm messing with a great event. That is rubbish. We are keeping it alive.

"I am fed up listening to whingers who were themselves culpable of helping destroy this game.

"Put your heads down, play snooker, earn your money."

Whoever lifts the trophy on Sunday night – and Ulster's Mark Allen is one of the favourites – will collect a cheque for £150,000.

Not bad for winning seven games of snooker.

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