The Crawley venue branded a ‘hellhole’ by former snooker world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has said that feedback from ‘everybody else has been so positive’.
A spokesman for K2 in Crawley, the leisure centre being used for this year’s English Open, said ticket sales have ‘already surpassed’ total numbers sold for other venues, adding that it was ‘a privilege’ to be involved in the event.
Mr O’Sullivan told the BBC it was ‘such a bad venue’ that ‘it demotivates you to want to play’.
The spokesman from K2 Crawley said in a statement: “We are sorry and disappointed to hear that Ronnie has voiced some concerns over the venue, especially after feedback from everybody else has been so positive.
“We have been working closely with World Snooker to make this competition the best it can be and they are extremely happy with how the first day has gone, and in fact, we hear that ticket sales have already surpassed total numbers sold for all previous English Open venues.
“To be involved with this event is a privilege and we are pleased that K2 Crawley’s great accessibility and facilities will mean that more snooker fans than ever before can enjoy the tournament – we are certainly excited to see what the rest of the week holds!”
A spokesman from World Snooker said: “We are surprised to hear these comments from Ronnie given that he has made no formal complaint and the feedback from the other players has been overwhelmingly positive.
“And the partners we are working with on the event agree with our view that K2 Crawley is an excellent venue with very good facilities.
“There was a fantastic crowd in the arena today and the ticket sales for the event have already surpassed the total sales for 2016 and 2017.
“We look forward to seeing Ronnie play in the next round.”