Ronnie O'Sullivan withdraws from Welsh Open as statement released on 'stage fight and anxiety'

Ronnie O'Sullivan withdraws from Welsh Open as statement released on 'stage fight and anxiety'

WATCH NOW: Ronnie O'Sullivan celebrates winning Welsh Open

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 10/02/2024

- 10:58

Updated: 10/02/2024

- 13:10

The Rocket won't be playing in the tournament this week

Ronnie O'Sullivan has revealed he's withdrawn from next week's Welsh Open.

The snooker icon has been in impressive form in 2024 so far, winning the Masters and World Grand Prix with memorable victories over the likes of Ali Carter and Judd Trump.

O'Sullivan has regularly talked about being burned out, however, with the snooker schedule hectic for the 48-year-old.

And the Briton has now confirmed he won't be playing in Wales next week, admitting he's suffering from 'stage fight' and 'anxiety'.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan has confirmed he's withdrawing from next week's Welsh Open


He said: "Morning buys, I wanted to let you know that I've decided I'm not able to play in Llandudno next week.

"It's hard to explain but for years I've suffered from stage fright at times, brought on by anxiety.

"It's not something I can predict or control but I try to manage it as best as I can.

"I'm sorry to everyone who's bought tickets but I just can't get my cue out when I feel like this and I think this [is] what's best for me right now.

"I still want to be around the tournament so I'll be doing some work with Eurosport and I hope to see you all there."

Fans on social media have reacted to O'Sullivan's post and sent messages of support to the snooker icon.

"Best wishes, Ronnie. We only live once. We look forward to seeing you soon. Keep running!" said one X user.

"That's a shame but your mental health is more important than a tournament. Glad you are doing the EuroSport bit...good confidence builder having others with you..more of a team spirit than the lonely player...good luck Ronnie...enjoy your week & we will enjoy seeing you," said a second.

A third stated: "Big love Ronnie."

"Get well soon. It's all about the Worlds. 8-8-8," were the words of a fourth user.

And a fifth said: "Be strong Ronnie, health comes first."

It is now the second tournament O'Sullivan has pulled out of in a matter of weeks.

The Rocket had been due to compete at the German Masters last month.

Yet he withdrew from that competition, too, saying at the time: "Hi guys, I just want to let my fans in Germany know that sadly I've decided to withdraw from the German Masters next week.

"I love the event and my fans in Germany but I have to make my health and wellbeing the priority.


"It's been a tiring and challenging season for me so far, despite how it may seem with the tournament wins, so hope you understand.

"I'm sorry I won't be there and I hope to see you all soon."

O'Sullivan has admirably spoken about his anxiety over the course of his career and how it can impact his mental health.

In his recent documentary, he speaks to friend and psychiatrist Steve Peters and lays bare his struggles.

“I feel like I’ve got stage fright. It’s horrible," he said.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan has won two titles in 2024 while battling inner demons


"I f****ing hate it. I feel like I want to cry. I feel I don’t want to face it. I am f****ing gone. I am scared.”

Girlfriend Laila Rouass added: “It is hard to watch somebody go through that emotionally and that’s when the questions come in. Like, ‘Why does he put himself through it. It is so soul destroying."

You may like