Ronnie O’Sullivan: ‘Disgusting’ Alexandra Palace makes me feel ill

Ronnie O'Sullivan chalks his cue
Ronnie O'Sullivan is two victories away from winning his eighth Masters but he cannot abide its venue, Ally Pally, even though the fans love the place - Adam Davy/PA Wire

Ronnie O’Sullivan has hit out over the conditions at one of snooker’s most iconic venues, describing the 159-year-old Alexandra Palace as “disgusting”.

The Masters snooker event is currently being held at a venue which has also just hosted the World Darts Championship and, after reaching the semi-final, O’Sullivan said that the facility made him feel ill.

O’Sullivan has regularly criticised certain UK snooker venues over recent years, telling the Telegraph in November that he wears his scruffiest trousers, shoes and shirts because “the venues are so bad”.

Of Alexandra Palace, which has staged the Masters since 2012, O’Sullivan said: “I just don’t like this place. I find it disgusting. Everywhere is dirty. It’s cold. It’s freezing, I have to wear my coat everywhere. You go through car parks. There are bins. Honestly, it just makes me feel ill.

“I’m a bit of a clean freak and when I come in here it gives me the heebie-jeebies. I just can’t wait to get out of here.”

Alexandra Palace
O'Sullivan has won three of his Masters titles at Ally Pally but hates the place - Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

O’Sullivan has recently returned from playing in exhibitions events in Macau and Tibet and has often praised the conditions and hospitality in Asia, where the World Snooker Tour also regularly stages events.

Of O’Sullivan’s comments about Alexandra Palace, the WST said: “We work alongside Alexandra Palace to provide the best possible conditions for players on and off the table.

“All other players have spoken with unanimous positivity about the venue. Fans love coming here. This is underlined by record ticket sales and the fact that all standard admission seats sold out ahead of this year’s tournament.”

An Alexandra Palace spokesperson said: “We love hosting the Masters and welcoming all the players and fans to the Palace. We work tirelessly to provide an arena and atmosphere that this great event deserves.

“We’ve been proud of the overwhelming positive feedback the venue has received in recent years, and it’s obviously disappointing that Ronnie feels differently. We hope we can change his mind and that he enjoys the rest of his tournament here.”

O’Sullivan will play Shaun Murphy on Saturday afternoon in the semi-final of a tournament he has already won a record seven times, including the only hat-trick of wins at Alexandra Palace.

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