Ronnie O’Sullivan has advised Mark Allen to do what is best for him when it comes to which tournaments he plays in, suggesting the Pistol should not have bothered with German Masters qualifiers last week.
Allen has been enjoying an incredible season so far, winning the Northern Ireland Open and then UK Championship, both of which came after reaching the final of the British Open.
Going deep in tournaments means more matches, more days on the road and time away from home, which will eventually catch up with a player mentally, and will make the differences between big finals and low-key qualifiers all the more stark.
Allen went straight from winning the UK Championship in York to play in the German Masters qualifiers in Leicester and ended up falling at the second hurdle in a surprise defeat to Zhao Jianbo.
At this week’s Scottish Open, O’Sullivan asked Allen if he regretted playing in Leicester and not withdrawing, as he did.
‘I just thought…it feels like I’m always having a dig at you, but I just think it looks bad for the sponsors if you pull out late, that’s the only reason I played,’ Allen told O’Sullivan on Eurosport.
‘I probably wanted to [withdraw] and in hindsight I probably still should have. I could have taken a leaf out of your book there and withdrew because I probably wasn’t mentally ready for that tournament at all.’
O’Sullivan explained why he is happy to withdraw from events, as he did with the German Masters this year: ‘What I’m saying is, when you’re down in the gutter, would the sponsors come out and say, “Mark we want to support you?” That’s the way I look at it. Sometimes you’ve got to look after your own thing.
‘You’re a single sportsman. If the sponsors knock on your door and say, in the hard times we’re going to support you, you’d go. okay great, but when they don’t you think you’re pretty much on my own here.’
Allen admits he was in a quandary about playing in the German, feeling a responsibility to perform, but really wanting to take some time off before the trip to Edinburgh this week.
‘It’s hard because you come off such a good week at York. Big matches, big venue, big crowds,’ he said. ‘Judd [Trump] was saying yesterday about the German qualifiers, playing in front of two men and a dog if you’re lucky.
‘I felt like being UK champ, if my first act as champion was to pull out of an event…
‘The German isn’t my favourite event on the calendar, it’s very distracting on the outside tables. But you’re almost forced to play in these events with the bonusses that are on offer.
‘You’re caught in the middle. You don’t want to play because you’re not ready, but you want to play to see if you can continue that form.
‘But, it is what it is. I’m here now and going to give the Scottish Open a good go this week.’
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