Ronnie O’Sullivan has been accused of “disrespect” by the player whose dreams of facing the world number one were dashed at the Scottish Open in Edinburgh on Monday.
The seven-time world champion withdrew from the event citing medical reasons just hours before he was scheduled to face 19-year-old Liam Graham in a first round match.
Graham criticised the timing of O’Sullivan’s decision, telling the Daily Record: “It’s disrespectful, it’s not right.
“A lot of people took time off work to come and watch today and it’s disappointing.
“It’s not surprising given the things he does. I found out when I got to the venue this morning. I didn’t have much prior warning – I think he pulled out very late.”
O’Sullivan, who won his record-extending eighth UK title in York earlier this month, has now withdrawn from five of eight ranking tournaments this season, not including the Snooker Shootout.
Last month, he pulled out from the Champion of Champions event in Bolton due to “mentally feeling a bit drained and stressed”.
It comes amid a time of tension between the player and World Snooker Tour chiefs over his desire to have the freedom to play in lucrative exhibitions in China.
In the wake of his final win over Ding Junhui in York, O’Sullivan insisted officials “seem to want me to hand my resignation in” – a claim flatly denied by WST.
Graham, who is in his first year as a professional, added: “At the end of the day I want to play the best players in the world and I was really looking forward to it.”