/OSullivan has struggled in bubble

OSullivan has struggled in bubble

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O’Sullivan made a century break on his return to competitive action for the first time in four months

Ronnie O’Sullivan says he has “struggled” in the “bubble” surrounding the Championship League tournament, which is being played behind closed doors and in a closed environment.

O’Sullivan, 44, returned to action sporting a new moustache and progressed as group winner without losing a frame.

“If every tournament was to be like this then I am not sure I would be able to do it,” said O’Sullivan.

Snooker was the first sport to return to live action on free-to-air TV.

It followed the government’s ‘phase three’ coronavirus pandemic guidance, which paved the way for competition to make a comeback from Monday.

The non-ranking event is taking place without fans at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, which has an on-site hotel, allowing players and staff to be contained on the complex without having to leave.

However, all personnel have had to have strict Covid-19 testing a day before they are scheduled to feature and are made to isolate in their rooms – world champion Judd Trump said he had wait 18 hours before the result of his test was known and O’Sullivan even longer.

Although a catering service is provided, O’Sullivan – who last played competitively at the Shootout in February – only entered the event if he was allowed to bring his own foodexternal-link
as he does not “trust people” cooking for him.

But being in his room for such a long period meant he had “run out of food” and so was left “eating cornflakes for the rest of the day”.

World number six O’Sullivan added: “I have struggled. I was in the room for 24 hours so I have had a bit of a headache and started to get a bit of a cough and can’t even get the window open.

“You want to be in good health at the moment so this bubble is not ideal. If the facilities do [improve] and if you have to stay on site at the hotel and [are able to] use the gym, then it would be better.

“At the moment there is none of that so it is tough. I like my own company but it is tough being cooped up. It is not easy for me, I must admit.

“It is just about having the freedom to go out for a walk, get a bit of fresh air and a coffee.”

Much of the talk on social media was not about O’Sullivan breezing through with a 100% record from three matches, but the addition of a handlebar moustache.

Asked how it came about, O’Sullivan said: “I set myself a challenge. As soon as we were in lockdown I was going to grow a beard but that got itchy so my partner said, ‘why not grow a moustache?’ It was a bit of a giggle really.

“A few people have said I look like a Mexican drug lord, like ‘El Chapo’. Someone even said Freddie Mercury.”

Meanwhile, the rescheduled Tour Championship – originally due to take place in March in Llandudno – will take place at the Marshall Arena from 20-26 June.

Freddy Mercury, Ronnie O'Sullivan and El Chapo Guzman
Any resemblance between Freddie Mercury, Ronnie O’Sullivan and ‘El Chapo’?