The first day of the Haikou World Open was largely underwhelming but this was down primarily to poor scheduling.

This is not just down to the wildcard round. There were two first round matches played but no stardust.

Perhaps World Snooker could explain why they didn’t put a big name on. They were all there. They have to be for pre-tournament promotion.

So why not put Judd Trump or Ding Junhui or Neil Robertson or John Higgins or Mark Selby on the first day and launch the tournament with some momentum?

Then again, this is a preview for what could happen next season under the new system. You toss aside your star names at your peril. Television sport isn’t about some nebulous concept of ‘fairness’ but the entertainment it provides for those watching on television.

The game’s big hitters – and we all know who they are – are the ones who regularly provide this.

Ronnie O’Sullivan has provided plenty and will today take advantage of his own box office appeal by tying in an announcement as to whether he will play in the World Championship with publicity for the Snooker Legends exhibitions.

As I write this, ITV4 have just begun their coverage with the words – and this is a verbatim quote – “the only story in the world of snooker today concerns Ronnie O’Sullivan.”

This is an eccentric way to begin nine hours of live coverage of a tournament he isn’t in but I suppose reflects the interest in today’s press conference.

In the meantime, thankfully the big names are entering the fray today on Hainan Island.

Trump in particular will be keen to beat Mark Joyce, who beat him 6-5 from 5-2 down in the first round of the UK Championship last December.

This was the start of a poor run of form for Trump but he played much better at the Welsh Open and has returned to the top of the rankings.


Graeme said...

Morning Dave,
Do we know of the time of the press conference and, is it to be broadcast live ?

Anonymous said...

Agree David, they should incorporate the opening day with a high profile match or two to really kick start the event.

I think Ronnie will announce he will enter the WC today, why else would he call a press conference, as he said last Nov he was taking the whole season off. I think he's got anxiety issues about losing and finds it very painful when he does, plus he doesn't want to ground it out when he's playing only his B game. He's got nothing to prove to his Dad, family or anyone. Ok, Hendry is the greatest winner of all time, but many would say Ronnie is the best player skill wise. If he does retire, i've no doubt in a few years time he'll look back and think, could I have won 5/6 or 7 World titles and won't then be able to do anything about it as he won't be able to compete with the very best.

Dave H said...

It's at 12pm. I'd be surprised if it's live anywhere but possibly Sky Sports News.

Anonymous said...



Tuesday 26 February 2013

11.00 am for 12 noon

Hilton London Metropole Hotel, 225 Edgware Road, London, W2 1JU
(nearest tube Edgware Road)

Reigning World Snooker Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will be holding a press conference on Tuesday 26 February to make a statement regarding his future career plans.

You are invited to attend at 11.00 am to set up for a midday (12 noon) conference

Anonymous said...

from bbc website:

Ronnie O'Sullivan has announced he is to end his snooker sabbatical and that he will defend his world title crown in April.

More to follow.

Anonymous said...

This is really good news for snooker. One day he will walk away from the game but for now, lets all enjoy this one of a kind virtuoso.
Those who believe that the game is better off without Ronnie being involved are totally mistaken.
Roll on Sheffield.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie will win 2 more world titles as he is coming back !!!!!

Anonymous said...

Amen to that 12.19 !
'Rows and rows of disused milk floats stand dying in the dairy yard', to quote Paul Weller.
Could apply to the virtually empty arena in China.
Wouldn't happen had Ronnie been there.
Can't wait for April now !

The Blog said...

In a recent tv interview (broadcast on ITV4 - I think it was a repeat) he said he had depression because of snooker. In his new press announcement he says:

"I don't find snooker hard mentally or physically."

He's a glorious player to watch but his comments - which change from day to day - make him seem a somewhat vacuous person or someone that doesn't have any grasp on what he's said in the past.

It's laughable for him to say he doesn't find snooker 'hard mentally' when he's spent most of his career moaning about playing and even admitting he had 'snooker depression'. As I say, it was mentioned on ITV4 just a few days ago!

Anyone want to bet if he plays badly at the 2013 WC he'll say "I can't stand the game, I'm quitting for good this time."


Anonymous said...

Now the world championship will have meaning. If Selby wins, or anyone else for that matter, there will not be a Horace Lindrum type champion.

Anonymous said...

As to Dave's comment about WORLD SNOOKER, who are they accountable to?

Anonymous said...

The king is back. Long live the king

Anonymous said...

ITV day 2

The team look exhausted

Need more bodies for a 9 hour show


Hi David. A great Day's play, yesterday, in my view. as I said, yesterday.

Colin M said...

Awesome news on Ronnie... I'll be there on Day 1 to welcome him back. I think there will be a standing ovation similar to the one Steve Davis got in 2010.....

Jan said...

I sincerely hope the audience doesn't devalue the standing ovation a 52 year old Steve Davis got for his record 30th appearance at the Crucible by bestowing the same honour on someone who's merely returned from an extended holiday.

Don't get me wrong I'm all for Ronnie playing, but I just don't see it as an achievement in itself.