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O'Sullivan says he took break to the max in his defeat to Ding

 

By John Skilbeck

Ronnie O'Sullivan bowed out of the World Championship despite producing another unforgettable Crucible moment.

The five-time champion made a thrilling 146 break and afterwards denied he snubbed the chance of a maximum as he crashed out 13-10 to Ding Junhui, who set up a semi-final clash with Mark Selby - a repeat of last year's final.

By taking pink from the 13th red when a perfect 147 looked a formality, O'Sullivan sparked debate over whether he had spurned the opportunity because of the lower prize-money on offer.

O'Sullivan said: "I was playing for the black but I just didn't get on it. I don't take this stuff too seriously.

"I like to entertain, I like to put on a good show, and I like to have fun and I like to enjoy myself. In a world where everything's so serious, I like to make it fun."

Twenty years ago O'Sullivan pocketed £165,000 for a World Championship maximum that took just five minutes and 20 seconds, but this year the 41-year-old's reward would have been £15,000, made up of a high-break prize of £10,000 and a £5,000 147 bonus.

"Let's just say I don't think he was giving it 110 per cent," said seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry of O'Sullivan's efforts to get on the black for a 13th time.

When O'Sullivan was pressed on the financial rewards for the 147, and whether he was trying to make a point, he added: "I'm just having a bit of fun. Let's not go down that route, let's just enjoy the match and wish Ding the very best."

At last year's Welsh Open, O'Sullivan turned down the chance of a maximum when he learned the prize-money was £12,000.

He said at the time he "didn't think the prize was worthy of a 147", and was criticised by World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn.

At the 2010 World Open in Glasgow he had to be pressed by referee Jan Verhaas to pot the black to complete a maximum after being told there was no bonus on offer.

Belfast Telegraph

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