Rocket calls for 'compassion'
World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has accused snooker chiefs of lacking "compassion" and warned he could still quit if his concerns are ignored.
O'Sullivan is concerned by an increasingly heavy schedule of tournaments, and has claimed on several occasions he feels "blackmailed" into playing, because missing any event could see his ranking fall or a fine imposed.
He collapsed due to exhaustion in December and later suffered with glandular fever, but O'Sullivan recently revealed he had been sent letters from snooker officials enquiring why he had missed tournaments.
He skipped the Australian Open last September while illness was behind his withdrawals since the turn of the year from the Haikou World Open and the PTC Grand Finals.
A father to two young children, who live with his former partner Jo Langley, O'Sullivan has increasingly few weekends at home following the introduction and growth of the Players Tour Championship circuit, which sees small, low-pay ranking events staged from Friday to Sunday.
O'Sullivan has called for "a bit of slack", so that occasionally missing events does not prove costly in the long term.
"It would be sad for me to walk away from snooker, and I do think it would be a loss for snooker because I still think I've got a lot to give. But it needs to be sustainable, it needs to be fair," he said.
"I'm not the type of guy that wants to hold anyone to ransom. We (the players) all love this game, and there's people backstage who don't know what it's like to love a sport.
"They're just there to do a job, and sometimes you need to have some compassion for people and cut some people a bit of slack. But there doesn't seem to be any of that.
"We need a bit of support from the people running the game, and not just to expect that you can come in and all of a sudden put 30 tournaments on, and then put X amount of prize money on.
"I've put my hand out a few times and it's just been slapped in my face too many times. I won't be knocking on anyone's door, I've made it pretty public.
"I've made a point of having a good season this year because I knew I won't be able to sustain it.
"I've put all my efforts into finishing on a high, but I keep getting knocked in the face and keep getting this sustained pressure."
After clinching the Betfred.com World Championship title with victory over Ali Carter in Sheffield, O'Sullivan initially vowed he would play on.
But he plans to take up to six months away from the snooker tour, and said of his future: "I don't know what I'm doing at the moment. I'm going to have some good time off and then I'll assess what's going on.
"I couldn't do another year like I did this year, because of the sheer volume of tournaments and the travelling from one tournament to another.
"There's certain pressures that I can't do with anymore.
"I asked for support from World Snooker and I never got it and I don't think I'll ever get it."