Ronnie O’Sullivan has withdrawn from the forthcoming Northern Ireland Open due to medical reasons.
The Rocket was a three-time runner-up at the Home Nations event between 2018 and 2020, losing 9-7 to Judd Trump on each occasion.
O’Sullivan also pulled out of the Championship League, European Masters and British Open earlier this season, and revealed during the English Open he was suffering the long-term effects of tennis elbow.
The seven-time World Champion was due to face Ahmed Aly Elsayed on the opening day of this year’s event at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.
But he will be replaced in the draw by Rory McLeod – who is the highest available player from the Q School ranking list.
The tournament will be played from October 22-29, with home favourite Mark Allen aiming to lift the Alex Higgins trophy for the third year in a row.
O’Sullivan claimed the Shanghai Masters invitational title in September and was a quarter-finalist in the recent Wuhan Open, narrowly retaining the world number one spot over current World Champion Luca Brecel.