A Maltese snooker referee has opened up about the moment five-time Snooker World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan called him “terrible” during this week’s Players Championship final.
“Unfortunately his character is like that: you have to deal with it,” Terry Camilleri told Lovin Malta following the important game.
“I know I was correct in my decisions and I also make mistakes. Obviously our sport is based on millimeters and fractions, and it could be that the ball was not exactly as he thought it was,” he continued.
O’ Sullivan had reacted angrily to a decision regarding the position of a black ball. “It goes now because I’ve had to tell you,” O’Sullivan said to Camilleri during the match. “Terrible. Twice, I’ve had to tell you twice.”
However, Camilleri is having none of it. “I tried to make the ball exactly as it was, but he was not happy with it, and I tried to find a compromise to get it to its position,” he told Lovin Malta. “You have to get on with the game.”
When it comes to performing under pressure, Camilleri says he’s used to it
“There is always pressure, especially when it’s the final,” said Camilleri.
“It’s a very important match for both players, and also for the people present: their anxiety will be high as they are supporting their players, so you have to control all these emotions and keep focused on your game,” he continued.
Indeed, he only had praise for the Ronnie O’Sullivan final.
“Obviously this comes a bit easier to control by experience,” he said. “But this final had something special about it because Ronnie O’Sullivan was reaching his milestone of making his 1,000th century break, which is the first time it has ever happened in our sport. I had experienced great feelings in my reffing career, like historic finals and various 147 breaks, but this was something special as it was a first.”
Camilleri started his refereeing career after having his interest piqued at the tender age of 16
Back in 1990, he ended up applying for a pro-referee course, just to learn the rules as a player better. Upon completing the course though, he kept on studying and, eventually, was asked to referee his first Pro-Am match.
“I took part in that tournament and, from there onwards, my journey started,” he said.
As exciting as the Ronnie O’Sullivan match was, he’s looking forward to the rest of 2019.
“There will be many more exciting games to come as I will be involved in various tournaments; my next one is the Qualifiers for the World Championships,” he said.
He ended by thanking his family and the Maltese public for their continued support
“I would like to thank my family for their support as it is not easy to be away from home for long periods of time, as well as friends and supporters: I get very emotional when people stop me in the road and tell me that they watch snooker on TV just because they enjoy seeing me refereeing and representing Malta,” he said.
Cover photo: Left, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Right, Terry Camilleri