x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

O'Sullivan pulls out of event

Ronnie O'Sullivan has withdrawn from the Bahrain Championship, which starts in Manama on Saturday.

Ronnie O'Sullivan has withdrawn from the Bahrain Championship, which starts in Manama on Saturday to leave the event without the world champion and world No 1. O'Sullivan had been due to play six times world champion, Steve Davis in the first round on Sunday, but the veteran and oldest player on the circuit will now go straight into the last 16 where he faces Marco Fu or Dominic Dale on Tuesday.

Medical reasons are cited as to why O'Sullivan has withdrawn. "It is with a great deal of regret I have decided to pull out," the Rocket admitted. "I have been very run down recently due to my hectic playing and promotional schedule, and my doctor has told me to rest for a couple of weeks. "I realise it is not good for me or the tournament if I am way below my best and I don't want to run the risk of exacerbating the problem and making myself more ill.

"Potentially I could jeopardise the rest of the season, so I think it is right for me to take my doctor's advice. "I am very sorry not to be competing in Bahrain as I am sure the tournament will be a great success." Davis is booked on a flight out of Heathrow on Monday but to fulfil contractual obligations in the televised Premier League run by his manager Barry Hearn, he is due to back to play at Haywards Heath, Sussex, on Thursday evening.

This is same day as the Bahrain quarter-finals so if Davis, the world No 29, should win in the last 16 then it will cause a conflict of interests. John Higgins, Mark Selby and Ding Junhui are also on Premier League duty in Sussex on Thursday, but because of the clash with Bahrain did not enter the Middle East event. sports@thenational.ae