Snooker: O'Sullivan hails fans at Welsh Open
PUBLISHED: 09:30 13 February 2020
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Ronnie O'Sullivan used his ManBetX Welsh Open second round triumph to hail his fans' support.
After coming from behind to beat world number 46 Stuart Carrington under Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena lights, with breaks of 55 and 96, he booked a third-round clash with Anthony Hamilton on Thursday.
And after almost 30 years competing at the highest level, the London-based star used his progression to thank all those who had stood by him.
"I'm so thankful over the years, with the way I play and the enjoyment I give to people, and I feel the crowd's love everywhere I go around the world," he said.
"It's always special at this stage of my career, and I just want them to know that I appreciate it and that I know they've supported me for a long, long time.
"I'll always have a special place in my heart for the snooker fans and they'll always have a special place for me in their heart, so it's important to try and enjoy those moments.
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"I felt a lot of love and a lot of support out there tonight and there were some good snooker fans out there, and I felt that and I was in the mood.
"It's always nice to give them a wave and just show them that I really do appreciate their support, and that was the case tonight."
The world number six has had a stop-start season after pulling out of the 2020 Dafabet Masters at the Alexandra Palace, with the final Home Nations event of the season in the Welsh capital marking just his second UK event since the 19.com Scottish Open in December.
O'Sullivan lost to three-time world champion and long-term rival Mark Selby at that tournament in the quarter-finals, going down 5-4 after a ninth-frame decider to leave him plenty to ponder over his extended break.
And as he now vies for a fifth Welsh Open title and prepares for his clash with world number 49 Hamilton, he said he is still firmly focused on enjoying his snooker - regardless of his opponent.
"I try not to analyse my performance and I just try to go out there and do my best - I try to enjoy it, try to stay focused, and try and fight to the end, and if you win, great," he added.
"I also try not to comment on my opponents as they're here to do their jobs - I haven't studied what Anthony's doing or his results, so it's not fair for me to have a comment on."
*Watch the Welsh Open live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.