Ronnie O'Sullivan has made a weird call, says Shaun Murphy
Shaun Murphy says "genius" Ronnie O'Sullivan's "weird" decision not to defend his UK Championship title will not reduce the event's importance.
Five-time world champion O'Sullivan, 39, has not played a competitive match since the World Championship in April.
World number four Murphy said: "It's a shame for the event and fans who bought tickets way in advance.
"Ronnie is an absolute genius on the table. But we know trying to predict his decisions is a waste of time."
O'Sullivan has not retired and says he still wants a place in the sport when he works out what that is.
Murphy, one of only 10 men to have won snooker's 'Big Three' of World Championship, UK Championship and Masters, added: "It's a bit weird for a defending champion not to want to defend their title.
"But as with all geniuses, they walk a very thin line.
"It is very hard to understand some of the decisions he makes. But I am sure he has his reasons, and his reasons are private and personal to him - and who is to say he is wrong?"