Alexander Ursenbacher has admitted the death of his pet cat prompted him to unintentionally shed weight ahead of his shock 4-1 win over Ronnie O'Sullivan in the British Open first round.
The Swiss world No. 63 enjoyed a third victory against the seven-time world champion in four career meetings on Monday evening with O'Sullivan remarkably off the boil and contributing a highest break of only 45 in the five frames.
Ursenbacher did not have to perform at peak levels to progress with timely runs of 69 and 51 enough to seal his progress after previously defeating the world No. 1 at the 2019 Welsh Open and 2020 UK Championship.
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“I have lost weight recently. My cat died in April and that helped because I was so upset I couldn’t eat anything. Then after that I didn’t put it back on," he told reporters after securing a last-64 meeting with Joe O'Connor in Milton Keynes.
The former English Open semi-finalist said he was thrilled to claim the win with his mum in attendance for the first time at a professional event.
“I didn’t think my mum was ever going to come over and watch me because of her work schedule," he commented.
“It surprised me when I saw her this morning, I was so happy and I thought there was no way I was going to give in tonight. I was really nervous all day, I was anxious and couldn’t eat.
"She’s the best mum you could wish for but that put pressure on me because I wanted to make her proud."
Ursenbacher hailed O'Sullivan as the snooker GOAT but admits the sight of the Essex player sitting opposite him is always an inspiration.
“Against the best players, it’s the easiest way to push yourself. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to play Ronnie," said the Basel man.
"When I play him I just want to go for it, it’s the ultimate test because he’s the greatest player who has picked up a cue.
"I always give 100% against him. I just play how I feel and hopefully, you will see more of that from me for the next 20 years."
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