WST Unveils Xi’an Grand Prix Amidst Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Ultimatum for More Opportunities in Asia

The World Snooker Tour (WST) has officially announced the addition of a new ranking event for the upcoming season, marking the debut of the Xi’an Grand Prix scheduled for August. This development follows the assertion by Ronnie O’Sullivan that he might contemplate retirement if he is not given more opportunities to compete in Asia.

Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province in central China, is poised to host prominent snooker figures, including O’Sullivan, who is presently on a hiatus from the sport. The Xi’an Grand Prix will become the fifth tournament in China, joining the ranks of the Shanghai Masters, Wuhan Open, International Championship, and World Open as fixtures for the 2024/25 season.

The prize money for the Xi’an Grand Prix is an impressive £850,000, with an additional £25,000 increment in the subsequent two years. This surpasses the International Championship held in November, won by Zhang Anda with a prize fund of £825,000. The winner of this year’s Xi’an Grand Prix will claim £177,000.

The WST’s decision to introduce the Xi’an Grand Prix could be seen as a gesture to address O’Sullivan’s concerns about his limited opportunities to compete in China. O’Sullivan and other UK-based players are obligated by contract to participate in WST tournaments, facing potential sanctions for missing them in favor of overseas exhibitions.

Beyond adding a fifth event in China to the WST calendar, the Xi’an Grand Prix also opens the door for additional exhibition tournaments surrounding the main event. O’Sullivan, who expressed his desire to play more in Asia, stands to benefit from these opportunities.

In a statement to the BBC, O’Sullivan emphasized the importance of playing in China and hinted at the possibility of exploring other cue sports like Chinese 8-Ball if such opportunities were restricted. He underscored the need for respect and value in his relationship with snooker, expressing his willingness to pursue alternate paths if necessary.

“If I can’t go and do what I need to do, which is play a lot in China, I won’t ever play again. So, we’re at a kind of crossroads now,” O’Sullivan remarked, highlighting the pivotal juncture in his career and his determination to continue playing snooker on his own terms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap