Shaun Murphy has dismissed claims by Ronnie O’Sullivan of being “bullied” by snooker authorities as “completely wrong” after setting up a Second Round show-down with The Rocket in the 2017 World Championship.
Murphy, who once criticised O’Sullivan’s protest against making a 147 at the 2010 World Open because of a top prize of £4,000 as “pathetic, offensive and unprofessional”, has once again condemned the latest controversy surrounding the five-time World Champion.
Speaking after beating Chinese prodigy Yan Bingtao 10-8 at The Crucible on Monday, Murphy believes that O'Sullivan's allegations are false and that he has no reason not to be aware of his rights as a player.
The 2005 World Champion says that O’Sullivan has the freedom to make any comment he chooses, but must be ready for the repercussions that will inevitably follow.
“It’s very hard to talk about lawyers, threaten the chairman and focus on snooker at the same time,” said Murphy. “I certainly couldn’t do it – I don’t know how he does, but he seems to enjoy it so let him carry on with it.”
“In my own personal opinion, he’s completely wrong. The players’ contract is clear for all to see. He can say whatever he wants – nobody’s muffled him – but you can’t live in a world where there are no consequences.
“Ronnie can say whatever he wants, but he can’t get away with everything that he says. In my opinion, to claim that he’s been bullied by the governing body is quite inaccurate.”
Murphy confirmed a mouth-watering clash with O’Sullivan after surviving a scare against 17-year-old Bingtao - who was making his debut at the Crucible.
The first player born in the 2000s to appear the iconic venue, he recovered from 9-5 down to only trail 9-8, before a fluked red opened the door for his experienced opponent to eventually prevail.