Ronnie O’Sullivan shrugs off shock defeat to David Grace at the Northern Ireland Open

Ronnie O’Sullivan was unphased by his stunning loss to David Grace in the second round of the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open and insisted: “I really don’t care any more.”

O'Sullivan has frequently expressed his lack of desire in recent seasons despite coasting to a record-equalling seventh world title in Sheffield earlier this year.

And he issued a withering assessment of his current place in the sport after blowing a two-frame lead to lose 4-3 to Grace, a former UK Championship semi-finalist.

O'Sullivan told the BBC: "The job ain't worth the stress and the hassle. Sometimes a loss is a blessing in disguise, it just allows me to do other stuff.

"I quit mentally about eight years ago and I just take what I can from the sport. It's a good platform for me, allows me to do other stuff and gives me a lot of freedom.

"As far as winning goes or cementing my name in the game there isn't enough good stuff in the game to get excited about.

"One day I'll wake up and get excited and play a good tournament, but if I don't I don't really care any more."

O'Sullivan won the first two frames in Belfast's Waterfront Hall before Grace hit back with breaks of 57 and 94 to level the scores.

Grace also took the fifth frame with a break of 64 following a fluked red, but missed several chances to seal victory in frame six before O'Sullivan forced a decider.

However, O'Sullivan potted just one ball in the final frame as a relieved Grace secured one of the biggest victories of his career.

"I got over the line in the end, I made hard work of it," the 37-year-old from Leeds, who reached the semi-finals of the UK Championship in 2015, told Eurosport.

"You don't normally get a second chance. When I missed the first chance to win 4-2 that's when normally the snooker Gods don't forgive you, but they were on my side today.

"It was going really bad at 2-0 and I'm proud that I managed to find the cue-ball control to make a couple of breaks in the middle of the match to give myself a foothold.

"When you play the legends they get better when they go in front, they don't normally give you a foothold so it was nice to be able to give myself a chance."

Grace will play Tian Pengfei in round three after Tian made a break of 55 in the decider to beat Martin Gould 4-3.

Neil Robertson fired three centuries in a 4-1 win over John J Astley, while Mark Selby beat Hammad Miah 4-2.

But it was back to reality for Aaron Hill, the shock conqueror of Judd Trump in the previous round, who was well beaten 4-1 by Tom Ford.

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