Ronnie O’Sullivan mocks snooker rival with new ‘midnight’ nickname as he blames them for his Saudi debut not finishing until 3am… insisting it is a ‘nightmare’ to follow his old foe

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan’s victory over John Higgins didn’t start until 1.45am
  • Mark Selby’s 4-3 defeat to Mark Allen previously lasted almost three and a half hours
  • The Rocket has revealed the nickname he gave to his old enemy

Ronnie O’Sullivan has played a cheeky joke on Mark Selby after the Rocket’s victory over John Higgins only ended at around 3am in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The seven-time world snooker champion advanced to the next round of the inaugural World Masters of Snooker season in Riyadh with a remarkably one-sided 4-0 win over Higgins, who failed to pot a single ball.

However, the match did not get underway until 1.45am local time due to Mark Allen’s dramatic 4-3 win over Selby earlier in the evening, which lasted almost three and a half hours.

Jack Lisowski on job interview for Eurosport praised O’Sullivan before adding: “You’ve done us a favor because it’s getting late here.”

O’Sullivan laughed before looking at his watch and replied: ‘Selby – I call him ‘Midnight Selby’ because his matches last past midnight every game – it’s a nightmare.

Ronnie O’Sullivan mocked Mark Selby after his Saudi debut against John Higgins wasn’t finished until 3am

Selby's 4-3 defeat to Mark Allen lasted almost three and a half hours in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Selby’s 4-3 defeat to Mark Allen lasted almost three and a half hours in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

O'Sullivan said he called his rival 'midnight Selby' because his matches 'always go past midnight'

O’Sullivan said he called his rival ‘midnight Selby’ because his matches ‘always go past midnight’

“You don’t want to follow Mark because you’re going into the next day.”

When asked if it felt like 3am, O’Sullivan added: ‘No. Listen, when I’m tired I sleep and I had a good few hours today so I feel like I’m just getting going. I’ll keep playing if the fans want me to. They’ve all gone home now.’

When told that the day’s matches had been entertaining, O’Sullivan replied: “Do they have? To be honest I haven’t seen any yet, I was just chilling.

‘But yes, I know. Listen, you put all the top players against each other, so you always get good matches, unless it’s Mark and Mark today. You know, it was a bit annoying, wasn’t it? Even Mark Allen said ‘that was tough’. But yeah.’

O’Sullivan previously commented that Selby and Allen “should get their own comedy show” after they were taken off early during the second session of the World Snooker Championship semi-final last year due to the length of their match.

“The crowd seemed to enjoy it,” O’Sullivan said on Eurosport at the time. ‘There will probably be people at home who like to watch snooker this way.

“Some people like to watch the attacking game, others prefer to watch the defensive game, working everything out and looking at every shot.

‘Maybe they should put on their own comedy show, that would be a pretty good double act with the referee involved! They are good friends, very nice.’

Ronnie O'Sullivan recorded a dominant 4-0 victory over John Higgins in Riyadh on Tuesday

Ronnie O’Sullivan recorded a dominant 4-0 victory over John Higgins in Riyadh on Tuesday

The Rocket was not the only player to express his frustration over the delayed schedule in the Saudi Arabian capital.

Ali Carter lost 4-1 to Luca Brecel and gave a testy post-match interview in which he criticized the referee and complained about the delay. “I got here and I’m waiting four hours to play.

‘It comes from far away and you have to deal with it. It’s a great event and it’s very raw at the moment. It’s such a great opportunity for someone to win such a great event. The fact that everything is going wrong today has been very frustrating from the start.’

O’Sullivan faces Judd Trump in the semi-finals on Wednesday, while Allen and Brecel meet in the other match.

Ronnie O’SullifromSaudi Arabia