Record: 32 ranking titles

2012-05-03 00:00

SHEFFIELD — Stephen Hendry’s retirement from snooker after his exit at the world championship on Tuesday night brought an end to a glittering career, in which the Briton won a record 32 ranking titles.

After becoming the youngest player to compete in the tournament in 1986 aged 17, Hendry won his first world title four years later when he beat Jimmy White 18-12.

The Scot dominated the game in the 1990s, adding a further six world titles and a host of other tournament victories to his haul. His seventh world title, which set a record, came in 1999 when he beat Mark Williams 18-11. Viewed by many pundits as the game’s greatest-ever player, he will be remembered as a supreme competitor and superb break-builder whose style revolutionised the game.

However, Hendry’s form dipped in recent years and he was forced to qualify for this year’s world championship.

He made a superb start to the tournament, compiling a maximum 147 break in his first round match against Stuart Bingham on his way to victory.

A comprehensive 13-4 win against defending champion John Higgins followed, leading to suggestions that Hendry might emerge as a surprise contender to win the tournament.

But his hopes of defying the odds were effectively ended when he found himself 7-1 down at the end of the first session in his quarter-final against compatriot Stephen Maguire.

After the 43-year-old Hendry failed to mount a comeback, suffering a 13-2 defeat at the Crucible Theatre, he announced his decision to retire.

“I am officially retired now from tournament snooker,” he told reporters. “It was not a spur-of-the-moment thing. I thought about it last year, but two or three months ago I just decided enough was enough.

“I didn’t tell many people. I only told two or three people, but this is me finished from tournament snooker.

“It was quite an easy decision. There’s a few reasons. The schedule didn’t help and the fact that I’m not playing the snooker I want to play didn’t help. The fact I’m not enjoying practice doesn’t help.

“I want to do other things. I’ve got a lot of commitments now in China, which I’ve signed up for, and I can’t do that and play snooker because I would never be at home.

“I’m delighted I made a maximum here, that’s why I was more animated than normal when making it. I was delighted to do it on my last appearance here.”

Hendry, who won his final full ranking title in 2005 when he lifted the Malta Cup, banked about £9 million pounds in prize money.

When it was clear that he was no longer a serious contender to win major tournaments, Hendry decided it was time to bow out.

It was fitting that he made his farewell appearance at the Crucible — scene of some of his greatest triumphs.

— Reuters.

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