Genius? Yes, but Ronnie’s rudeness is tiresome!

Okay, I know it won’t remotely tarnish his incredible legacy – but it’s a pity to see snooker superstar Ronnie O’Sullivan being so rude about his fellow players!

It is now accepted by the vast majority of observers that O’Sullivan is the greatest snooker player we have ever seen (the claims of Stephen Hendry and Alex Higgins notwithstanding).

The ultimate genius on the green baize, ‘The Rocket’ also has astonishing career longevity. When he won the Masters final last Sunday night – defeating Ali Carter 10-7 – it was a record eighth Masters title for O’Sullivan, this latest one coming at the age of 48, an amazing 29 years after he won his first. I watched the entire evening session, testimony to O’Sullivan’s box office appeal.

In proceeding to voice my ‘rude Ronnie’ views, I appreciate that complaining about O’Sullivan’s off-table demeanour is to risk ‘missing the point’ about elite sportspeople – but I still feel it’s disappointing that this incredible sportsman can be as petty and provocative as he sometimes is.

I actually buy into the argument that we should pretty much unreservedly celebrate sporting genius and not ourselves be petty enough to point to an individual’s frailties outside their area of sporting combat – Tiger Woods is a classic example – but still, must O’Sulllivan be quite so unpleasant about his peers?

O’Sullivan seems to relish giving awkward interviews, feigning (in my opinion) disinterest in the game, making controversial comments for the sake of it, and often dissing opponents.

During last week’s Masters tournament, O’Sullivan was repeatedly dismissive of other players. He said his younger opponents “look old” and “their brains are quite slow”.

After coming from 3-6 behind to overpower Carter in the final, O’Sullivan – admittedly perhaps provoked by some whinging from his opponent – really let loose, launching an expletive-heavy attack.

He described Carter as “a f**king nightmare” who “isn’t a nice person”, adding: “You know what he’s like, everybody knows what he’s like. He’s got issues. I don’t give a f**k about any of these snooker players, any of them”. (The rant got even worse).

Ronnie is a joy to watch, and he is without question a genius. I would go further: we really are privileged to be witnesses to his extraordinary career. He can be charming and generous at times too, but it’s such as pity that a tendency towards gracelessness sometimes leave a sour taste.