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Ronnie O’Sullivan insists he will keep playing after a frame is dead to hone his skills on the green baize.
O’Sullivan regularly returned to the table needing an unfeasible amount of snookers during the Northern Ireland Open, which culminated in his 9-7 defeat to Judd Trump on Sunday.
It led to the bizarre spectacle of O’Sullivan clearing up the table, with no interest in pursuing the snookers required, only to finish well adrift of his opponent’s total and still lose the frame.
However, the current world champion said he would continue to do it for the “rest of my career” after admitting he rarely practises between tournaments.
‘I’ll do it for the rest of my career’ – O’Sullivan on playing dead frames
“I don’t practise much at home so for me this is the best place to get practise,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport’s Andy Goldstein after losing to Trump.
“I wanted to get as much table time as I can. I wasn’t trying to put balls safe and make the frame long, I just wanted to get a chance to clear the balls up.
“I’m just enjoying playing and when you’re enjoying playing you want to pot balls. You just love the game.
“If my table at the club played like this I would be over the moon, but this table just plays so lovely that I’ve come to the conclusion that this is as good a place as anywhere to get table time.
“I’ve done it every match this tournament and I’ll probably do it for the rest of my career now.
“I know the commentators are sitting there thinking ‘we want to go home’ so it’ll be the short straw if their drawn to commentate on me, they’ll be hating it.”
Having dragged out a couple of frames beyond their natural expiry date, O’Sullivan turned a 7-3 deficit to 7-5 and then 8-7 in the final to suggest it may have had a positive impact – although ultimately he was able to pull off a comeback.
O’Sullivan plays on despite needing six snookers
'It's legal' - McManus and White weigh in
O’Sullivan’s antics were debated during the mid-session interval in the final, with both Alan McManus and Jimmy White making a case in favour of the Englishman.
“Ronnie invents new ways of trying to keep himself in matches and trying to do different,” said McManus.
“Even if it’s only 1%, if that helps him get the job done in the end then he’ll do it. He’s entitled to do it, that’s alright.”
White added: “It’s legal. When it was 7-3 it looked a bit bizarre, but it ended up 7-5 so maybe he’s found something somewhere.”