Ronnie O’Sullivan will not defend his Betway UK Championship title in York, World Snooker has announced.
The five-time winner of the event did not enter before Wednesday’s deadline, meaning he will be absent from the Barbican Centre.
O’Sullivan won a sparkling final against Judd Trump last December, taking the match 10-9 after Trump battled his way level from 9-4 adrift.
However the 39-year-old has not played an event on the tour since April, when he lost in the World Championship quarter-finals to Stuart Bingham, who went on to lift the title.
A spokesman for World Snooker said: “The deadline for entering the tournament was yesterday and Ronnie has not entered so he will not be competing in York. We have had fantastic advance ticket sales and we’re looking forward to a great event.”
The UK Championship runs from November 24 to December 6, with the winner taking a cheque for £150,000.
O’Sullivan has played several exhibition events this season but has been missing from all tournaments, including this week’s International Championship in Daqing. He also recently decided against defending another title, at the Champion of Champions tournament which takes place in Coventry from November 10-15.
Earlier this month, O'Sullivan explained how a battle with insomnia was causing him to be unfit for competition.
He said in a Eurosport interview: “Just as much as I’d like to have been playing in the major competitions, my doctor has told me in no uncertain terms that he doesn’t think it is wise for my health situation.”
O’Sullivan said he could not even make a 20 break when his lack of sleep reaches its worst level, and added: “The thought of competing against the top guys in such a state is a big no no.”
He turns 40 on December 5, the day before the UK Championship final.
O’Sullivan insisted he would never be a player who would simply make up the numbers. And while aware of the clamour for him to play the major events, he is listening to those closest to him and is reluctant to risk anything that could prove damaging to his well-being.
He said in the Eurosport interview: “Other people will want me to play irrelevant of how my health is. To them I’m merely Ronnie O’Sullivan the snooker player. I sell tickets, I’m good for television, I’m good for the media, but to heck with his health. They don’t really give a damn.”
O’Sullivan skipped most of the 2012-13 season but returned to action at the World Championship and clinched his fifth Crucible title.