Seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan says World Snooker made a “mistake” by stating he had pulled out of next month’s Masters for “personal reasons”.
The governing body said in a statement that the 44-year-old had pulled out of the invitational event in London and his place would go to Ali Carter.
But speaking in his role as a pundit on Eurosport, O’Sullivan said: “I did not enter the tournament.
“Everything is fine and I feel it is a mistake on World Snooker’s part.”
He added: “There were certainly no personal reasons so the ‘personal reasons’ bit is news to me. I just chose not to enter.
“I think World Snooker felt they needed to put something out and saying personal reasons was a bit strong.
“Hopefully they will correct it and say everything is fine.
“It is a fantastic tournament but I just did not want to play in it this year. I am looking forward to doing some other stuff.
“The Masters is such a great tournament and I think that spot should go to somebody who is dedicated to the game, loves the game and is going to give 110%.
“At the moment I am just playing to enjoy. The place is better off going to somebody else.”
However, a World Snooker spokesman confirmed to BBC Sport that O’Sullivan did enter the event but notified organisers on Saturday morning that he would not play.
O’Sullivan reached the final last year where he was hammered 10-4 by Judd Trump.
The event, consisting of the world’s top 16 players, takes place at Alexandra Palace from 12 to 19 January, live across BBC TV and online.
The draw for the 2020 tournament will take place during the mid-session interval of Sunday’s UK Championship final, which is also available across BBC TV and online.
O’Sullivan’s quest for a record-extending eighth UK Championship came to an end on Thursday in a last-16 defeat by a rejuvenated Ding Junhui, who has since reached the final.
- Ding Junhui beats Yan Bingtao to reach final
- UK Championship – results and schedule
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