RONNIE O’SULLIVAN could lose his world No1 ranking after pulling out of the European Masters with injury.
The 47-year-old had been due to face Andy Hicks on day one of the event.
GettyRonnie O’Sullivan has been forced to withdraw from the European Masters[/caption]
Hicks, 50, will now receive a bye to the second round.
In a statement posted online, the World Snooker Tour confirmed: “Ronnie O’Sullivan has withdrawn from the BetVictor European Masters in Germany for medical reasons.
“O’Sullivan was due to play Andy Hicks in the first round of the world ranking event in Nuremberg on Tuesday at 8pm.”
“Hicks will now receive a bye to the last 64.”
O’Sullivan could lose his world No1 ranking to Luca Brecel or Mark Allen.
Brecel, 28, would likely become the new No1 should he reach the semi-finals.
That is, if Mark Allen fails to win the tournament.
Should the Northern Irishman, 37, triumph, it would be he that usurps O’Sullivan into top spot.
Brecel won the World Snooker Championship earlier this year.
The Belgian Bullet overcame Mark Selby 18-15 in the final to win the tournament for the first time.
On his way to victory, Brecel beat O’Sullivan 13-10 in the quarter-finals at The Crucible.
Brecel and Allen are on different sides of the draw this week.
That means that the duo could fight it out for world No1 in Sunday’s final.
Graeme Dott also withdrew from the European Masters earlier this week.
He pulled out in time to be replaced in the draw by Steven Hallworth.
O’Sullivan is next scheduled to be in action at the Shanghai Masters, which gets underway next month.
AFPBrecel, 27, could replace O’Sullivan as world No1[/caption]