Struggling O’Sullivan took steps to pull out of the World Championship

FORMER world No1 Ronnie O’Sullivan added to the speculation surrounding his future in the game by taking steps to pull out of this year’s World Championships, only change his mind 24 hours later.

Snooker’s flagship event gets underway in Sheffield tomorrow with O’Sullivan, now ranked a lowly 10th in the world, set to begin his campaign on Monday against Dominic Dale.

Following a first-round defeat by Ryan Day in the China Open last month the three-times world champion hinted at quitting the sport altogether, saying: “I’m not going to say I’m retiring but you never know, it’s not looking good”.

On a potential withdrawal from this year’s championships, a world snooker spokesman told City A.M.: “Ronnie called us last Thursday and said he intended to pull out. Should a player not wish to forfeit the relevant ranking points they would need to provide a medical note as is standard procedure. But as Ronnie called the next day and indicated he wanted to play it never got that far.”

This year alone O’Sullivan has withdrawn from two major ranking events, the Shanghai Masters and the German Masters Championship and hasn’t won an official match since claiming the Premier League title last November.