December 11th 2023.
Ronnie O'Sullivan's late withdrawal from the Scottish Open has caused quite the commotion. His first round opponent, Liam Graham, has labelled the move "disrespectful".
The world number one had hinted during the UK Championship earlier this month that he was likely to skip the Scottish Open, but only confirmed the decision very late in the day.
Graham, a 19-year-old rookie, was looking forward to taking on the seven-time world champion. He expressed his disappointment not only for himself, but for his friends and family who had come to watch the match. Instead of a game, the Scottish teenager now gets a bye to the next round.
Speaking to the Daily Record, Graham said: "It's disrespectful what he's done, it's not right. A lot of people took time off work to come and watch today and it's disappointing. I want to play the best players in the world and I was really looking forward to it. I had a lot of people coming to watch and it's really disappointing for them."
The 48-year-old has withdrawn from events on a regular basis this season, and O'Sullivan himself has remarked on the need to monitor his schedule and prevent any illnesses or injuries from occurring.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances, the show must go on. Those who came to watch Graham play will have to come back the following day to see him take on Belgian youngster Ben Mertens.
It's a disappointing end to what promised to be a thrilling match between Graham and O'Sullivan, but hopefully the young Scot can take some positives from the experience and put on a good show in his next game.
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