Rocket expected at the Crucible

22 January 2018 06:14:43 GMTPlus11

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn says he believes five-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan will compete at this year's World Championship in Sheffield.

The Rocket has recently suggested on social media that he is considering missing the Crucible Theatre event this year to work on his television documentary.

This week at the Masters in London, O'Sullivan, 42, suggested he will 'probably' miss the 2018 World Championship in Sheffield unless the 'terms and conditions' are right.

O'Sullivan said he was suffering from a virus after losing 6-1 to Mark Allen in the quarter-finals at Alexandra Palace.

My dream would be Ronnie lasts for ever.

Barry Hearn

Hearn says O'Sullivan is likely to line-up in Sheffield come April, suggesting anything else would be foolish.

"It's his choice not mine. I believe we'll see him there and if we don't I think he's making a bad choice," Hearn told BBC Sport.

O'Sullivan is 1212/1 to win his sixth world title this season, with defending champion and world number one Mark Selby 1212/1.

Hearn also insists that snooker won't have any trouble surviving when its most popular, and perhaps most divisive, figure eventually retires. He compares that moment to the recent departure of Phil Taylor in the world of darts.

"My dream would be Ronnie lasts for ever. My other dream is I produce six more Ronnie O'Sullivans to replace him when he goes," Hearn added.

"We had exactly the same thing in the world of darts - Phil Taylor has retired and everyone says 'he's the greatest player ever, what are we going to do?'

"He retires, someone else [Rob Cross] wins, the game hits bigger figures than it's hit before and snooker will be the same."

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