|Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 31 July-16 August|
|Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four and Red Button, with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app. Full details and times.|
Mark Williams says Ronnie O’Sullivan’s comments about the standard of snooker are “disrespectful” not just to the game’s younger players, but also himself.
“I understand what he was saying that the standard’s no good, but that’s compared to him,” said Williams.
“He’s including me in that.”
Three-time champion Williams was speaking after O’Sullivan overcame a 6-2 deficit at the Crucible.
“He is the pioneer for our sport. He is the main man without doubt and the best player in the world,” Williams told BBC Sport.
“You’d never have another top sportsman in their field sort of disrespecting or slagging off the rest of the tour.
“There’s no-one on the tour that’s as good as him, but it’s unfair to class everyone else in his standards because it’s not going to happen.
“And for him to have a go at the lower-ranked players I think is a bit naughty.”
Williams believes all those on the professional tour “deserve” to be there and highlighted the efforts of compatriot Jamie Clarke earlier in the tournament.
Unfancied Clarke knocked world number four Mark Allen out in the first round and before losing 13-12 to Scotland’s Anthony McGill.
“There’s a couple [of players] coming through from Wales.
“Jamie must be one of the stories of the tournament, really, for what he’s done. He looked like he was off the tour before he qualified to get a two-year card and should have beaten Anthony McGill really.
“He’s done well and hopefully there’s more Welsh ones coming through.”
O’Sullivan, 44 and Williams, 45, both turned professional in 1992.
Despite defeat the Welshman says he “loved every minute” of their quarter-final defeat, adding: “If people think you’re going to win from 6-2 against him, there’s something wrong.
“It’s nothing. At 6-2 I think he’s still even money to beat me.”
Williams has now set sights on next season, saying: “I’ll just continue with the work I’ve been doing for the last few months. I’ll just carry on.
“I’m not going to be in a club playing five, six hours a day – I can’t do that anymore, but I’m determined to get in there two or three hours a day, four hours tops and then just keep my game ticking over and when it starts back in September see if I can do any damage.”