Mark Selby has labelled Ronnie O’Sullivan’s comments about young players in snooker as ‘harsh and disrespectful’ after the Rocket slammed the quality lower down the rankings.
O’Sullivan said he would have to ‘lose an arm and a leg to fall out of the world’s top 50,’ after lining up a World Snooker Championship quarter-final against fellow veteran Mark Williams.
While some have agreed with the five-time world champion, Selby feels he went too far and believes players deserve respect.
Selby booked his place in the semi-finals at the Crucible with a brilliant 13-7 win over Neil Robertson on Tuesday and was asked for his take on Ronnie’s comments.
‘It was probably a little bit harsh, a bit disrespectful to the lower-ranked players,’ Selby said after beating Robertson.
‘They’re still trying their hardest every time they go out there, fair enough, they’re probably not as naturally gifted as Ronnie, not many people are, but obviously they’re trying their hardest.
‘Some people get on the tour and they’ve probably not got what it takes to progress, but they get on the tour to give themselves a chance, try their best and that’s all they can do.’
O’Sullivan’s comments came after he was asked if he would have predicted a World Championship clash with Williams when they were both young professionals in the early 1990s.
‘Probably if you asked me then, no. But if you look at the standard of play then I’d say yeah,’ O’Sullivan told the BBC. ‘People like me, John [Higgins] and Mark, you look at the younger players coming through, they’re not that good, really.
‘Most of them, they’d probably do well as half decent amateurs, not even amateurs, I mean, they’re so bad.
‘A lot of them you see now, you think, cor, I’ve probably got to lose an arm and a leg to fall out of the top 50.
‘So that’s really why we’re still hovering around still, just how poor it is down that end.’
One man who is on board with Ronnie’s thinking is seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry, who was asked about the comments on Twitter and replied: ‘Not far off the mark.’
O’Sullivan finds himself 6-2 down to Williams with two sessions to play of their Crucible quarter-final.
The winner will take on Selby in the semi-finals from Wednesday-Friday.
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