Ronnie O'Sullivan Progresses In UK Championship Despite 'Coming Down With Virus'
Ronnie O’Sullivan managed to progress through to the second round of the UK Championship despite seemingly suffering with illness during his win over the amateur Luke Simmonds.
The defending champion found himself trailing after the 128th seeds Simmonds proved to be no pushover at the York Barbican, taking the first frame of the match.
But ‘The Rocket’ soon asserted, eventually running out a 6-1 winner, bringing himself up to a remarkable total of 980 career centuries in the process.
All was not well, though, with the 42-year-old, who spoke afterwards of the physical problems he’d been battling through.
"I am not feeling well - I must be coming down with some sort of virus," said last year’s winner O'Sullivan. "At one point I was not even sure I would be able to get through - I feel absolutely awful.
"I could not focus on the ball and had to grind it out. It felt like one of the hardest matches I have ever had to play.
"It was really hard. I was really, really struggling and felt like I couldn't focus on the balls.
"Every shot felt like a black ball in the world final. My back hand was shaking and I didn't feel great."
He managed to overcome those difficulties too, to beat the Isle of White player Simmonds, 38.
The five-time World Champion has openly derided the players on the outskirts of the tour, describing them as ‘numpties’ but was gracious in victory over Simmonds, who has a job making car body parts from carbon fibre.
“Luke is better than most people on the tour,” he said of his opponent.
“I can’t believe he’s a factory worker and he doesn’t play much, because he’s got more shots than 80 percent of the players on the tour.”