Ronnie O’Sullivan insists his decision not to enter the Masters has nothing to do with personal reasons.
World Snooker issued a statement on Saturday afternoon which said the 44-year-old had withdrawn from the tournament “for personal reasons”.
But O’Sullivan, who has won the tournament seven times, has denied that is the case and says he simply did not want to enter January’s event.
Speaking in his role as a pundit on Eurosport, O’Sullivan said: “I didn’t enter so I didn’t pull out and there certainly aren’t any personal reasons so it’s news to me about the personal reasons. I just chose not to enter.
“Everything is fine, I think it’s just a mistake on World Snooker’s part. I think maybe they felt they needed to put something out. Putting personal reasons out I thought was a bit strong.
“Hopefully they are going to correct it and say it’s a mistake and everything is fine.”
Asked why he did not want to enter, O’Sullivan added: “No particular reason, it’s a fantastic tournament, I just didn’t want to really play in it this year. I’m looking forward to doing some other stuff.
“The Masters is such a fantastic tournament, I just think that spot should go to someone who loves the game, is dedicated to the game and is going to give 100 per cent.
“I think the place is better off going to somebody else really.”
The Masters features the top 16 players in the world rankings and takes place at London’s Alexandra Palace from January 12 to 19.
O’Sullivan, who was beaten 10-4 by Judd Trump in the 2019 Masters final, will be replaced by world number 17 Ali Carter.