Ronnie O'Sullivan blasted the regime of Donald Trump and says that ‘imploding’ western society can learn valuable lessons from China, writes Will Jennings.
The Rocket is currently bidding for a sixth World Snooker Championship but is the sport’s resident philosopher away from the table, keeping a close eye on current affairs as he enters the twilight of his glittering career.
O’Sullivan meets Chinese player Ding Junhui in the second round at the Crucible at a time when tensions between the west and Xi Jinping’s state remain at fever pitch, with the coronavirus crisis and Huawei's activity in Britain and the USA hampering relations.
But the world No.6 slammed Trump’s ‘brutal’ mode of governance and says the whole western world can follow China’s lead in progressing as a society.
“I love China and I’ve always said, we as a western society can learn a lot from China,” O’Sullivan, 44, said.
“It looks like the western world is kind of imploding on itself and it’s the far east that are leading the way now in behave.
“Especially with Donald Trump and the brutality of the police out there, the platform of these people that he’s given, the fake news, half the country’s on medication and they’re trying to spread their gospel like ‘this is a way to live’.
“I don’t know, I just feel that they seem to have got their stuff together a lot better than we have in many ways.
“So I think we need to maybe take a leaf out of their book, even down to this Covid-19 they’re dealing with - it’s so much better there and life’s back to normal.”
O’Sullivan is a well-known supporter of Asian culture away from the table, whipping up all sorts of Chinese, Indian and Thai dishes in lockdown alongside his fiancee, Laila Rouass.
He also boasts a strong record in Chinese tournaments, having won the China Open twice in 1999 and 2000 before also winning the previous two renewals of the Shanghai Masters.
The 36-time ranking event winner has inflicted misery on Chinese rival Ding, however, who he’s beaten 13 times in their 21 matches and losing just five times.
But he remains disillusioned with British culture away from the table and lamented Britain’s ‘nanny state’ that requires a 'stiff hand' to get back on track.
“It takes a bit of draconian attitude in many ways - we’re a bit of a nanny state and we’re scared to tell people what they should and shouldn’t do, and now people are so disrespectful in many ways,” he added.
“I think it’s calling for a little bit of stiff hand really, and people to be just a little bit sensible rather than, yeah, that’s what I think anyway.”
Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship from 31st July -16th August with analysis from Jimmy White.