Ken Doherty has criticised Ronnie O'Sullivan for what he described as "derogatory" comments he made regarding the standard of other players on the tour.
The five-time champion joked that he would have to "lose an arm and a leg to fall outside the top 50" in the world snooker rankings.
1997 world champion Doherty was speaking on BBC Two ahead of O'Sullivan's quarter-final match against Mark Williams, expressing his disappointment with the Essex native's forthright views.
"I'd probably have to lose an arm and a leg to fall outside the top 50."
Ronnie O'Sullivan isn't impressed with new players coming through on the world tour.
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"Name another sportsman that would slag off the rest of the tour saying they are not that good," said Doherty.
"The standard is as high as ever. It may be a bit tongue in cheek but it is not nice. I think it is derogatory."
O'Sullivan (44) defeated China's Ding Junhui to set up the last-eight meeting with Williams (45), as he chases a sixth world crown which would draw him level with Ray Reardon and Steve Davis on the all-time list.
Davis was alongside Doherty today and he had his own theory on why the younger players struggle against some of the sport's veterans.
"At the turn of the century Ronnie O'Sullivan was a lot easier to beat. I beat him in the 1997 Masters from 8-4 behind," said Davis.
"He was nowhere near the player he is now. Maybe the same is true of Mark Williams and John Higgins.
"Wait until these young players are in their mid-thirties before you make a judgement on them.
"The likes of Jack Lisowski and Zhao Xintong are talented but effectively raw compared to John Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan."
Doherty also pointed out how some of the younger players may feel let down by O'Sullivan's comments.
"All of those players look up to Ronnie and he has a duty to them as an ambassador to the game," he said.
"He is a hero to all those players on the tour. I don't know whether they will still think he is a character or look up to him."
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