Stephen Hendry takes aim at Ronnie O'Sullivan's rivals as Ali Carter fails to land blow at Tour Championship

Stephen Hendry takes aim at Ronnie O'Sullivan's rivals as Ali Carter fails to land blow at Tour Championship

WATCH NOW: Ronnie O'Sullivan risks angering UK fans after thumping victory at Riyadh Masters

Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 04/04/2024

- 15:54

Updated: 04/04/2024

- 15:55

The legendary star got his campaign off to a winning start at the Tour Championship

Stephen Hendry has hit out at snooker players for 'not taking advantage' of slow starts by Ronnie O'Sullivan this season.

Hendry claims rivals have often let the Rocket off the hook before he turns up the heat and is too good for his opponent later in the match.

O'Sullivan has won five tournaments this season including the first two Triple Crown events at the UK Championship and the Masters.

He will be aiming to win a record-breaking eighth World Championship at the Crucible, which starts later this month.

Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry

Stephen Hendry has hit out at Ronnie O'Sullivan's snooker rivals


His final action before heading to Sheffield is at the Tour Championship in Manchester this week.

O'Sullivan was drawn against arch-rival Ali Carter in the quarter-final, their first meeting since an angry exchange of words following the Masters final in January.

Both players were far from their best in the early stages but O'Sullivan did enough to storm into a 4-0 lead.

He finished the afternoon session leading 7-1 over Carter and returned to win 10-2 later in the evening.

Ahead of that session, fellow seven-time world champion Hendry claimed O'Sullivan has got away with some slow starts this season.

He then singled out several of his rivals, claiming they have been unable to exploit the 48-year-old being under par.

Hendry said on ITV: "I think it says a lot about the opposition. You take a look at all these rivalries he's had the last few years - [Mark] Selby, [Mark] Williams, [Judd] Trump - they seem to have fallen back.

"But Ronnie keeps on producing and producing. You look at the match today, he starts off a lot of these matches - and all these tournaments he's won - not playing that well.

"But players are not taking advantage of that.

"Then when he sort of senses the opponent is weakened, he's broken them, then all of a sudden he motors on and he wins the tournament."

O'Sullivan will play either Zhang Anda or Gary Wilson in the semi-final in Manchester on Friday.

It was a well-tempered affair against Carter following their heated battle almost three months ago.


Ali Carter

Ali Carter was unable to trouble Ronnie O'Sullivan at the Tour Championship


Ahead of the match, O'Sullivan refused to comment on his opponent.

He claimed his new policy is to focus on his own game and not speak about his rivals.

O'Sullivan said: "I don't comment on players now, I've learnt my lesson.

"There's no value in it for me, if they say something about me and it becomes a headline.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan won 10-2 to reach the semi-finals of the Tour Championship


"What am I actually gaining from this? I'm not actually gaining anything from this.

"I'm happy with my life, my job, what I do and I just want to delete that stuff.

"I just need to make that a policy. As far as I'm concerned it's not something I want to get involved in ever again."

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