DING JUNHUI is considering pulling out of the UK Championship if crowds return, saying it’s ‘too risky’ for players.
The defending champion does not feel comfortable if snooker punters are allowed back for the final a week on Sunday at the Marshall Arena.
Ding Junhui could pull out of the UK Championship if crowds return over the ‘risk’ to players[/caption]
Milton Keynes has been placed in Tier Two, which allows a maximum of 1,000 fans for indoor sporting events.
SunSport understands the World Snooker Tour are exploring the possibility of selling tickets next week.
The event was moved behind-closed-doors from York’s Barbican Centre but next week’s changed government guidelines have opened the door for the comeback of audiences.
No.1 seed Ding, who beat amateur Jamie Curtis-Barrett 6-1 in the first round, refused to take off his mask for the press conference.
China’s Ding, 33, aid: “Everybody is looking for the crowds back but the first thing is you need to keep the players safe and if a player doesn’t feel safe you can’t put them in danger.
“New cases are getting higher every day and you just can’t take the risk for the players. No players, no tournament.
“It’s not good timing simply because we are in a room. It’s not like football grounds which are outside.
“We’re sitting in a room. There’s much more chance to catch the virus than outside in a stadium.
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“It’s too risky. If they put some people in the crowd in there I will think about that and other options.
“I’m not sure yet, but if it’s the semi-finals or the quarter-finals I have no chance to pull out of the tournament – you have to go for it.
“But I won’t be fully concentrating on the table – if somebody coughs behind me or whatever happens, I’d be thinking about something else, not playing snooker.”
Matthew Selt also had a stellar afternoon, hitting five centuries as he smashed Moroccan Amine Amiri 6-0.