Daniel Wells has described Ronnie O’Sullivan’s comments as “upsetting” after the seven-time World Champion branded him “not good enough” to win a tournament.
O’Sullivan was on punditry duty for Eurosport ahead of Wells’ Second Round clash with Judd Trump at the Welsh Open in Llandudno last week and pulled no punches on the Welshman’s chances of gaining major silverware.
The world number one suggested Wells should not look to return to the professional ranks and should continue to treat snooker as a part-time occupation.
“I think for him he should just stay as a part-time player, irrelevant of how well he does, just stay part-time snooker,” said O’Sullivan. “It has taken the pressure off him.
“Next year if he gets a main tour card and invests totally in snooker I bet he goes back to getting beaten and not enjoying it again.
“There’s a lot of them on tour who can’t mentally sustain it. If I was advising him I’d tell him to stay as a part-time player, you’re having fun and enjoying it. That’s the way he’s going to play his best snooker.”
When it was suggested that Wells’ aim is to become a professional again, O’Sullivan responded: “He’s tried that and he ain’t that level, never will be.
“At best he’ll maybe make a few Semi-Finals now and again, but he’s never going to be a tournament winner, he’s just not good enough.”
Wells tested positive for Covid-19 in late 2020, causing him to miss a clutch of events and resulted in him dropping down the rankings and eventually losing his place on the tour at the end of last season.
He returned to work for his mother’s cleaning business in Neath with the main intention of regaining his place on the tour and has enjoyed a fine spell of form in recent months which stands him in good stead to do so.
Wells recovered from 2-0 down to defeat Masters champion Judd Trump in last week’s Welsh Open before losing out to eventual runner-up Shaun Murphy in the Last 16.
The 34-year-old, twice a ranking event semi-finalist, admitted he was disappointed by O’Sullivan’s remarks and has questioned the mental toll they could have taken on other players.
“It was quite upsetting to hear someone who’s been one of my heroes saying those things about me,” Wells told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast.
“There’s a lot of talk about mental health in sport and comments like these are really tough to take for people. I’m quite strong as a person and I’ll deal with it but other people might not be as strong.
“Toilets were part of the job unfortunately,” he added. “I wish I could have avoided them but I had to pay my bills and earn a living for my family. But snooker’s always been my main focus.”
“My results have been good this season. I had a great win over Judd and I’ve beaten John Higgins,” he said. “It’s nice to get my life back on track and going through those experiences has just made me stronger, so I’m hopeful for the future.”
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