Ronnie O'Sullivan set to lose No1 ranking for first time in 17 months after pulling out over 'medical reasons' | The Sun
RONNIE O’SULLIVAN could lose his 17-month status as snooker’s world No1 this week.
The Rocket is in danger of being removed from the summit of the sport depending on how results go at the British Open in Cheltenham.
The seven-time world champion was due to face Jimmy Robertson in the opening round on Monday evening at The Centaur auditorium at the Racecourse but he withdrew last Thursday for “medical reasons”.
His spot in the draw has been taken by amateur Steven Hallworth.
His absence means that Luca Brecel, 28, has the chance to claim world No.1 spot for the first time in his career.
The Belgian, who beat O’Sullivan en route to winning a maiden Crucible crown in May, faces China’s Ding Junhui this afternoon in a held-over qualifier.
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Should he win that and then beat Liu Hongyu of China to reach the last 32, the Bullet will have earned enough ranking cash to move up from second spot – the gap at the moment is just £5,000.
Northern Ireland potter Mark Allen, who heads to Gloucestershire as the world No.3, is also in the equation but needs to win the third ranking event of the season on Sunday night.
Only three players not representing one of the four Home Nations – Cliff Thorburn (Canada), Neil Robertson (Australia) and Ding (China) – have held this prestigious accolade on the baize.
O’Sullivan was named world No.1 for the fifth spell of his career in April 2022 and has dominated the standings since then.
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The Essex star – who recently beat Brecel to win the Shanghai Masters – has not played a tournament in the UK since losing at the World Championships at the Crucible in April.
His next appearance on home soil will be at the English Open in Essex on Monday October 2 but that will be the same day he flies back home from a trip to Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, O’Sullivan has been left “devastated” after his Indian pal Elias Kazmi was involved in a road rage incident in Kashmir, which has left him in Intensive Care Unit with brain clots and broken bones.
The 47-year-old issued a social media plea to his “big fan base in India” to create more awareness of this case.
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