Ronnie O'Sullivan fears Ding Junhui's days as a top ranking player could be over, believing the former UK Champion cannot cope with the grind of the modern game.
Earlier this week O'Sullivan claimed the Chinese players on the tour needed to step up their efforts and, speaking after a comprehensive 6-0 win over Ding’s compatriot Tian Pengfei, The Rocket cited a clear problem with the fact that so many Chinese players are on the tour, but all are failing to challenge for the major titles.
Junhui won the World Open in 2017, but has only secured three titles since 2015 and the current UK Champion believes Junhui lacks the desire to do the less glamorous side of the game.
"It's a bit like a footballer playing in the Spanish league," said O'Sullivan.
"They love the nice weather over there, but then they come to the Premier League and it gets to January, February, having to play in the cold weather against the nasty, horrible teams and they disappear.
"I think Ding is that type of person. He doesn't relish the new model of snooker where you have to just get in, do your qualifiers, maybe be put on an outside table where no one is watching you.
"Some people are okay with that, others don't like it and I don't think Ding enjoys that.
"So I don't know if he will make it back if I'm honest. I know he is young still but there is a lot of competition out there.
"If he doesn't sort it out sooner rather than later than he could easily drop out of the top 40 or 50, as the matches aren't easy."
32-year-old Junhui faces Michael Georgiou in the second round on Sunday afternoon, in a tournament where he's failed to get further than the fourth since his quarter-final appearance in 2011.
The Chinese player is currently 16th in the world rankings with 279,750 ranking points, but the likes of Ali Carter, Gary Wilson, Graeme Dott, Yan Bingtao, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Ryan Day are lining up to leap frogging him.
O'Sullivan believes Junhui is becoming his own worst enemy by managing his time poorly and playing in too many tournaments.
"I manage my time well, I do lots of other things in my life, but I make sure I have time to fit my snooker in and that ensures I'm still enjoying playing.
"But if I was doing what Ding is doing, traveling back and forth from China, trying to play in every tournament maybe I'd feel like him and seemingly not enjoying it.
"If I started going down the rankings I personally wouldn't panic and just start entering more and more tournaments to try and save myself."
"I'd just stick to what I'm doing, take a step back and find what works for you. I'm my own boss and I can do what I want to do. Maybe Ding doesn't have that luxury."