It was a more gracious Ronnie O’Sullivan who crashed out of the Welsh Open last Wednesday than had criticised the new venue during his first two victories.

The Chigwell potter, 39, likened the Motorpoint Arena to a shopping mall after winning twice on the opening day of the event.

However, after exiting in the third round after losing 4-3 to Matthew Stevens, O’Sullivan conceded that the venue had not been as bad as he initially suggested.

‘The Rocket’ told Sky Sports News: “The venue is all right. You get used to it. It’s the same for both players – good crowd, good atmosphere. I’m just disappointed to have lost.”

Speaking after first and second round wins over Vinnie Calabrese (4-1) and Rory McLeod (4-2), O’Sullivan was critical of the venue, which moved to Cardiff after nine years at the Newport Centre.

He told BBC Sport: “It’s like playing in a shopping mall. There were people walking around and getting up when they wanted.

“The etiquette of snooker is not to move when a player is on his shot.”

O'Sullivan continued: “I thought Newport was one of the best venues I’ve played at, so I was really gutted to see it go.

“I had played here, so I knew what kind of venue it was. It’s kind of like playing in an aircraft hangar, so it’s a bit difficult.

“The atmosphere’s not great, the acoustics are not as good, so from a snooker player’s perspective, it’s not as good a venue as Newport.”

O’Sullivan took a 2-0 lead but Stevens hauled himself back into the contest by edging the third frame and levelling in the fourth with a break of 80.

And having taken the next to take a step towards the fourth round, O’Sullivan missed a crucial yellow and Welshman Stevens pounced on his chance to advance.

It was O’Sullivan’s first defeat to Stevens in 12 years but the five-time world champion lauded the performance of his opponent.

He said: “Matthew played a good match, he deserved his win. He has had a lean few years. He is a great player, under-achieved really.

“So, credit for Matthew – playing in Wales, Cardiff. I can only say well done to him. He is having a good tournament.

“Unfortunate for me but that’s snooker – you win some, you lose some.”