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O’Sullivan slams “flat” atmosphere at the Northern Ireland Open

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O’Sullivan admits he was “bored” during the match (Photo by PA Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan admits he was “bored” during his Second Round win over Andy Hicks at the Northern Ireland Open, describing the atmosphere as “flat”.

O’Sullivan safely saw off former UK and World Championship semi-finalist Hicks 4-1 in Belfast on Monday to reach the Last 32 of the Home Nation Series event.

However, the six-time World Champion appeared frustrated in his post-match interview with Eurosport over what he described as a “very flat” atmosphere at the Waterfront Hall.

“I kind of struggled with the table and I struggled with the atmosphere – there was really no atmosphere out there,” said O’Sullivan.

“I wasn’t bothered if I won or lost. I’m playing alright, so normally I can generate the atmosphere but, I don’t know.

“It felt like years ago, every time we played a tournament, every match felt like a big night, like a Champions League night, whereas out there, it was poor – it was hard.

“I don’t know, you’ve got all these games going on, you’ve got people walking about, I struggled.

“It’s the atmosphere. These flat draws, you’ve just got to hope you get through to the quarters and click into a spark.

“It was very flat out there. I was very bored, I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible, to be honest with you. I was thinking, ‘please, just don’t let this go long, two-three hours’.

“That’s not a good attitude to have, so I tried to talk myself out of it, but it is what it is, you know.”

O’Sullivan, who whitewashed Stuart Carrington 4-0 on Sunday, opened up against Hicks with a 76 break to clinch the opening frame.

Hicks levelled thanks to a break of 55, before O’Sullivan fired in consecutive breaks of 54, 65 and 90 to coast into the Third Round.

The Rocket will now face Alfie Burden on Wednesday, and added: “Hopefully the atmosphere is a little bit better than it was tonight. Yeah, listen, it is what it is, you know – it’s paid practice for me.

“I come here and hit a few balls, it’s all a bit of a bonus, so I’m not really too bothered either way really.”

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