John Higgins has sensationally hit out at his rival Ronnie O’Sullivan by calling the legendary figure “a disgrace” for his recent comments on the state of snooker. The pair are competing at the Scottish Open this week, with O’Sullivan beating Michael Georgiou to progress to the last 32 and Higgins seeing off Noppon Saengkham on Wednesday.
Speaking after his victory, O’Sullivan revealed that he would not want his child to follow in his footsteps and take up snooker as a profession due to the lack of money being invested.
He said: “I’ll be honest with you, I would not let my son play snooker so maybe it is a good thing there isn’t the opportunity for him to play snooker.
“I’d rather he played golf, football, tennis. I’d rather he played curling! Personally if I had a child [that wanted to take up snooker] I would not want him to play snooker, I really wouldn’t.
“Maybe 20-25 years ago it was a sexy sport but it has kind of fallen behind to other sports.
“If you have a child you’d want them to get into a sport like tennis like Emma Raducanu, she’s doing fantastic.
“You look at the golfers like Rory McIlroy and the footballers, it’s just lovely sports to be in.
“It’s just timing I suppose. Maybe in another 25-30 years snooker might be back on top but at the moment I’d be like, ‘go and get a job mate, forget playing snooker’.”
Higgins, however, appeared furious with what O’Sullivan had said, and aimed a scathing rant at the 46-year-old.
“I heard Ronnie, which I thought it was a disgrace what he was saying, that he’d be saying to young kids ‘don’t play snooker’,” he blasted.
“I thought that was dreadful for someone as good as that to sit there and say that.
‘I was thinking to myself, if my dad had heard Jimmy White or Steve Davis saying, ‘don’t let your kids get into it’ and I was wanting to play snooker, he’d say, ‘nah, Steve Davis said you shouldn’t be playing snooker now – so I’m not giving you the money to go down and practice’.
“I think it was terrible of Ronnie saying that, he should know better.”
Higgins did agree with O’Sullivan on one aspect, however, adding: “But having said that – I do agree with him about the prize money for professionals losing in the first round, they should get something.”
O’Sullivan is next in action on Wednesday night when he takes on Liang Wenbo.
Higgins, meanwhile, is up against Ryan Day on Thursday.