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Ronnie makes baize change claim
Ronnie O'Sullivan has accused the snooker authorities of deliberately hurting his chances of winning the World Championship this year by changing the cloth before the final.
The 37-year-old believes slower baize was installed on the Crucible table after the semi-finals to better suit the style of his opponent Barry Hawkins, who he went on to beat 18-12, scoring a record six century breaks in the process.
O'Sullivan states in his autobiography, Running: "The conspiracy theorist in me believes it was done to stop me winning the World Championship."
And asked by the Daily Mail if he believes that, he added: "Yes, I know they did. I'm quite a conspiracy theorist sometimes.
"You only change the cloth if it's running badly. I understood the four semi-finalists have to agree they want a new cloth. But, as far as I am aware, there was no complaint.
"The new cloth benefited Barry more than me. It was like playing on carpet. It didn't suit my game at all."
World Snooker, the branch of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association responsible for organising the game's major tournaments, denied O'Sullivan's claims, saying the cloth was changed because it was damaged.
A spokesman told the Mail: "We are confused by Ronnie's comments. We always strive to provide the very best playing conditions for all our professional players. It is common practice in all World Snooker events to review the condition of the cloth before a match and make necessary changes.
"In this instance, after review and consultation with the WPBSA, the cloth was considered to be damaged. Ronnie, of course, went on to win the final 18-12, making a record six century breaks."