Ronnie O’Sullivan hailed for ‘greatest bit of sportsmanship’ at World Snooker Championship

Ronnie O’Sullivan felt uncomfortable for what he considered an unfair advantage (Picture: Getty Images)

Neil Robertson hailed Ronnie O’Sullivan for producing the ‘greatest bit of sportsmanship’ he’s ever seen in his World Snooker Championship quarter-final with Stuart Bingham.

The Rocket was 6-5 ahead at the Crucible and looking to extend his lead when a controversial few seconds occurred.

He potted a black and when referee Desislava Bozhilova re-spotted it, the ball appeared to rock a little on the spot and a red right next to it became unpottable.

O’Sullivan asked for the black to be re-spotted – which he is perfectly within his rights to do – and it was proving difficult to stop the ball rocking on the indentation on the spot.

Eventually the referee managed to get the ball to stay still and now the red was pottable to the corner pocket.

The world number one was uncomfortable with how this chance had been created, saying: ‘I don’t feel good about it. I can’t take it.’

After much deliberation O’Sullivan chose to ignore the pot and play safe, which Robertson was stunned by.

‘It looks like it goes easily. Ronnie’s saying he doesn’t even want to play the shot because he feels it’s on too easily,’ the former world champion said on BBC commentary as the Rocket deliberated.

‘He’s looking to play safe here, even though he can pot the red. It’s unbelievable. If he plays safe here this will be the greatest bit of sportsmanship I’ve ever seen in any sport.’

After watching the shot, Robertson said: ‘Unbelievable. That is incredible. He could have played that red.

O’Sullivan lost the frame as Bingham leveled up at 6-6 (Picture: Getty Images)

‘I’ve never seen anything like that before. The only thing I can think of is Stephen Hendry playing Jimmy White in the final of the World Championship. The referee gave a free ball against Jimmy and Stephen came to the table and said he didn’t think it was a free ball. The referee double checked it and proved that it wasn’t. But not since that have I seen sportsmanship of that kind of level.

‘It’s absolutely incredible what Ronnie’s done there. To refuse a pot with a great chance of going 7-5 up because he didn’t believe he could get through to the red if the black was perfectly on its spot.

‘It’s no fault of the referee either, Desislava is one of the best we have. It’s just one of those situations in this sport where not even a millimetre can make the biggest of difference.’

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