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Why Ronnie O'Sullivan refuses to shake hands with opponents and referees during snooker matches

Patrick Rowe

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Why Ronnie O'Sullivan refuses to shake hands with opponents and referees during snooker matches

Ronnie O'Sullivan secured his eighth UK Championship crown on Sunday night with victory against Ding Jinhui in the final at the York Barbican - and eagle-eyed fans were quick to notice his fist-bumping tradition as he collected the latest silverware in his illustrious career.

O'Sullivan, 47, became the oldest winner of the tournament, just over 30 years after he secured the title for the first time at the age of just 17.

The veteran looked fairly underwhelmed after his 10-7 win against Jinhui to seal the trophy for a record-extending eighth occasion after claiming the victory lacked the same 'buzz' it would usually carry, despite an eventful tournament that included one of the most extraordinary shots in recent memory during his quarter-final win over Zhou Yuelong.

“I’m not sitting here with a massive grin and super-excited,” said O’Sullivan.

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“I just go through the motions a lot of the time. It’s great to win and I give my best when I’m out there and I want to win, but it’s not the same excitement as years ago when I was winning my first world and UK and Masters titles, and you’re buzzing.

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“Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a nice feeling and a job well done, but I get more of a buzz from going for a run in the morning or having breakfast with my mate."

While O'Sullivan himself is not getting carried away with the win, fans are also choosing to focus on another talking point from the match; his reluctance to shake hands with both his opponent and the referees in charge of the match.

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"Why is Ronnie O'Sullivan fist bumping instead of shaking hands?" one fan wrote. While another said: "Ronnie fist bumping the ref just feels wrong."

Ronnie O'Sullivan picked up his 22nd major ranking event title on Sunday night. (Credit: Getty)
Ronnie O'Sullivan picked up his 22nd major ranking event title on Sunday night. (Credit: Getty)

Speaking back in 2019, O'Sullivan explained why he opts for a fist bump rather than the usual handshake prior to each match beginning.“I’ll admit I’m a bit OCD with germs," he told Eurosport. “I don’t open door handles, I always have tissues on door handles, I am a bit OCD like that.

"I have got a bit of a germ thing. It’s easier to do that and I don’t get any germs.”

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The Rocket even chose to fist bump the tournament organisers who awarded him his the UK Championship trophy as he was handed his 22nd major ranking event title.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Ronnie O’Sullivan, Snooker

Patrick Rowe
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