Steve Davis believes Ronnie O'Sullivan's latest retirement warning and admission that he returned to snooker just for the money could be considered "disrespectful".
Defending world champion O'Sullivan last night said the ongoing Crucible event would be his final shot at the title in Sheffield.
He was beginning his semi-final against Judd Trump today in the wake of those comments.
"This is my last farewell, it's my swan song. I'm happy; I'm done," said 37-year-old O'Sullivan.
"I didn't know what was going to happen here but I've made a little bit of money now so I can go and pay the school fees now for the next two years.
"But really I don't think snooker is for me."
O'Sullivan has repeatedly floated the prospect of retirement during his career, and bookmakers already make him odds on to appear at next year's Betfair World Championship, sceptical he will stay away.
"I don't think snooker is for me" - Ronnie O'Sullivan
Six-time world champion Davis, speaking to the BBC, said today: "We know full well that Ronnie O'Sullivan's interviews are a bit like the British weather: they're changeable.
"But there's a dilemma for the snooker fan. They love what comes off the end of his cue; they sometimes hate what comes out of his mouth because it is sometimes disrespectful to snooker.
"The question to ask for every snooker fan is: 'Is it better for Judd Trump to win this match rather than Ronnie O'Sullivan even though Ronnie is such a breath of fresh air when he plays great?'
"It's a tough question to ask. If he's saying he's not going to play on the table and that's true, what use is he to the future of snooker?"
Pushed on whether his own view was that four-time champion O'Sullivan was being disrespectful, Davis added: "You could argue that but on the other hand it could be the mercurial talents of a genius.
"We'd love Ronnie O'Sullivan to be playing more snooker, not less."