Seven-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan has suffered an injury scare just weeks ahead of the defence of his World Championship title.

O’Sullivan was due to face David Grace in the second round of the World Snooker Tour Classic in Leicester on Sunday evening, but has withdrawn with an elbow injury.

The 47-year-old, who beat Egypt’s Mohamed Ibrahim 4-2 in the first round, wrote on Twitter: “Really disappointed but have had to pull out because of an elbow injury and hope to be back asap.”

The World Championship gets under way at the Crucible in Sheffield on April 15.

O’Sullivan defeated Judd Trump 18-13 in last year’s final to win his seventh title, matching the record total of Stephen Hendry and also becoming the oldest winner.

His withdrawal in Leicester ended his chances of qualifying for the Duelbits Tour Championship in Hull, which runs from March 27 to April 2.