UK Championship: Ronnie O'Sullivan hopes opponent gets time off work

Ronnie O'Sullivan
O'Sullivan is a six-time winner of the UK Championship
Betway UK Championship
Venue: York Barbican Dates: 27 November-9 December
Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app from 1 December.

Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan hopes Luke Simmonds has the time to prepare properly for their UK Championship match next week.

Former world amateur champion Simmonds has never been higher than 94th in the world rankings, and combines playing with working in a factory building carbon-fibre body parts for cars.

He will face O'Sullivan on Thursday.

"I hope my opponent can get the time off work for our game," said O'Sullivan.

The six-time winner added: "It's very interesting in what he has to say about being on the tour."

The UK Championship, which features 128 players, starts on Tuesday, with the match between O'Sullivan and Simmonds on the final day of first-round ties.

"Hopefully I'll have a couple of days to practise next week before I head up to York," said Simmonds.

"The financial side is difficult because if you are not winning matches then you can't cover your expenses."

The 38-year-old said it was "exciting" to be drawn against O'Sullivan in what will be his highest-profile match to date.

"I admire Ronnie because, along with John Higgins and Mark Williams, they are able to play snooker in an optimum state of mind," he said.

"They are totally at ease with themselves, enjoying the game with no concerns about prize money or expenses. I would love to be able to do the same but the hardest thing is to get to that point.

"I don't feel good about my game at the moment because I am very self-critical."

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