Ronnie O'Sullivan has responded to criticism from fellow player Shaun Murphy at the UK Championship by saying that he is "not interested".
Murphy took exception to The Rocket saying "for me, every match is just like a practice match" and that "this is so insignificant that this is just a bonus" as he felt it demeaned the sport and those working hard.
The 2005 world champion made the point that it was "frustrating" to hear the views expressed by O'Sullivan and similar comments from other leading players that show "how little the game means to them".
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O'Sullivan responded by saying that Murphy's opinion was "water off my back" in an interview with BBC radio and admitted that he "absolutely vacated a long time ago".
"I am not interested in what anyone has got to say about me," O'Sullivan told Radio 5 Live.
"I absolutely vacated a long time ago.
"Some guys are just happy to be here and have a laugh and a joke, some guys just have that pure intense desire, they just love the challenge and the competition," he added of some of his fellow professionals.
"Some people thrive on it, some people don't like it. Some people like it for a while but then they just can't handle it for that long because it is not easy.
"Dealing with pressure is not an easy thing. I have just grown to enjoy it."
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O’Sullivan also appeared to aim criticism at snooker’s young players following his resounding 6-0 victory over Zhou Yuelong in the last 16 of the tournament on Wednesday.
Asked who on the current circuit has that special talent for handling pressure and big-match nerves, O’Sullivan dismissed all his rivals.
“I don’t think anyone has,” he said on the BBC. “There’s definitely not a Stephen Hendry or a John Higgins in my book. People do it in spells, but to maintain it is the hard thing.
“I think you’re born with it,” he continued. "You look at some kids and they’re different, you don’t know what it is.
“We all knew about Stephen Hendry when he was 15, he was different, Steve Davis was different. Tiger Woods, you just look in their eyes, they have a different intensity.
“Some guys are just happy to be here and have a laugh and a joke. Some guys just have a pure intense desire, whether it’s with the game or with themselves, they love the challenge, love the competition.
“Some people thrive on it, some people don’t like it. Some people like it for a while but then can’t handle it for that long because it’s not easy. Dealing with pressure is not an easy thing. I’ve grown to enjoy it, if that makes sense.”
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