Vafaei in war of words with O’Sullivan at World Championship

Iranian Hossein Vafaei stoked his rivalry with Ronnie O’Sullivan after setting up a mouthwatering clash with the defending champion at the World Snooker Championship.
Vafaei produced a brilliant display of scoring to beat Ding Junhui 10-6 in the first round on Monday, setting up a grudge match with the seven-times champion O’Sullivan in the last 16 at the Crucible on Friday, PA Media reported.
It will be the first time the pair have met since Vafaei called on O’Sullivan to retire last year and stated he was “not good for the game” and “sometimes disrespectful” with his comments about other players.
Asked about O’Sullivan after his victory over Ding, Vafaei said O’Sullivan was a nice person “when he was asleep” and put on an Essex accent as he criticised the world No 1 for always making excuses. “I think Ronnie O’Sullivan is such a legend, he’s such a good player when he’s on the table,” Vafaei told BBC Sport.
“He’s such a nice person when he’s sleeping you know? You know what I mean. It’s going to be a great match for the people. I think every sport needs to have some people like us.
“I don’t have anything to lose. If he beats me for example 13-0 it’s still the start of my career. I don’t fear him. If I beat my hero, [who] used to be my hero, I’m going to be dangerous for the tournament. I’m not going to disrespect all the players because I’ve seen so many players playing well as well, [but] it’s going to be great if I go to the final.”
Told O’Sullivan had been ill before his opening win against Pang Junxu, Vafaei added: “He always finds an excuse for himself, he’s been like that for 30 years.”
When reminded of Vafaei’s comments following his victory against Pang on Sunday, O’Sullivan told Eurosport: “Has he been saying much about me this year? I think he’s learned to be quiet. Don’t rattle my cage. I love it when they call me out, I love it when they give me stick. I just love it.
“It turns me on. I get off on it. I need something to find so I’m hoping someone says something and hopefully I get better so I can have a reason to perform.”


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