Ronnie O’Sullivan’s outburst over the set-up and arena for the early rounds in York, feeling that the second-biggest ranking tournament on the calendar was being sold short, may have had its foundation in several factors – two being an erratic display, and the stark contrast in setting and atmosphere with the recent Champion of Champions final in Coventry.
But the atmosphere was surprisingly flat on Sunday night at the Barbican Centre, especially given O’Sullivan’s presence on one of the TV tables. The crowd, who are still turning up in growing numbers, did not get as involved as is often the case, extending to a lack of applause for good shots – very unlike York where they know their snooker. Maybe it was just a one-off.
It led to O’Sullivan at one stage moving from his chair and placing himself at the far end of the table near the markers, later pointedly noting that was the way he was reminding himself there was a crowd present.