Ronnie O'Sullivan withdraws from The Masters saying 'I just didn't want to play'

Ronnie O'Sullivan has announced that he will not take part in The Masters next month, but contradicted World Snooker's statement explaining his absence.

O'Sullivan is not in the draw for the first round, which takes place on Sunday and will instead feature Ali Carter who, ranked 17th, takes his place in the field.

But while World Snooker's statement cited 'personal reasons' in explaining O'Sullivan's absence, he suggested that is not the case.

Speaking on Eurosport, O'Sullivan said: "I didn't enter - there certainly isn't any personal reasons. I just decided not to enter and everything is fine. I just didn’t want to really play in it this year, I’m looking forward to doing some other stuff.

"The Masters is such a great tournament, I think that spot should go to somebody that's really dedicated to the game. At the moment, I'm just playing to enjoy it - the place is better off going to somebody else."

Earlier this year, O'Sullivan threatened to skip the event and also hinted that he may not take part in the World Championship, with his focus on the more immediate UK Championship.

Having suffered a shock defeat in York, he's since been covering the event as a pundit, where on Saturday he was commenting on the semi-finals. Ahead of the evening session, he denied that personal reasons had been given as an excuse.

An earlier statement from World Snooker read: "Ronnie O'Sullivan has pulled out of next month's Dafabet Masters for personal reasons.

"The world's top 16 players qualify for the event. But O'Sullivan has decided not to take his place.

"The player ranked 17th, Ali Carter, will now qualify.

"The draw for the first round will be made on Sunday afternoon during the mid-session interval of the Betway UK Championship final."

O'Sullivan is a seven-time winner of The Masters, the event once considered to be the most significant for him given his vocal London support and affinity with Alexandra Palace.

He lost the final to Judd Trump last year but had won three of the last five and, while a clear second best to Trump so far this season, he successfully defended his title in the Shanghai Masters and made the final of the Northern Ireland Open.

Watch the UK Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White

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