13.10.08

BORN WINNER

Stephen Hendry has come a long way since he lost 5-4 to Joe O’Boye in his first qualifying match in the Grand Prix.

The year was 1985 and Hendry was just 16. He has since won the Grand Prix on a record four occasions and is the game’s greatest ever player.

Hendry’s form has dipped over the last couple of seasons. Some would argue he should retire to protect his legacy.

I think this is nonsense. He is, after all, sixth in the world rankings and was a World Championship semi-finalist only a few months ago.

Look at Steve Davis: 51 and still battling, a quarter-finalist at the Shanghai Masters and a winner yesterday over Neil Robertson.

But there is a major difference between Davis and Hendry, namely that Davis enjoys rolling up his sleeves and getting stuck into the tactical stuff, whereas Hendry can’t bear that side of the game.

So his natural potting and break building game had better hold up otherwise he will slip down the rankings.

I know Hendry believes he can still produce the consistent form he conjured to dominate the game in the 1990s.

I believe this was the best snooker anyone has ever played because he did it tournament after tournament (indeed he won five ranking events in a row in the 1990/92 season).

Hendry can still play very well on occasion but, as he approaches his 40th birthday, these will inevitably become fewer.

Nobody wants to see him ending up at Prestatyn. I think if it came to that he would think seriously about retiring.

But he’s not there yet and a few wins such as yesterday’s over Dave Gilbert should help restore his lost confidence.

He told me after he won his record seventh world title that if he never won another match it wouldn’t bother him.

I didn’t believe him. He’s a born winner and it is still only winning that gives him satisfaction.

Nothing else comes close.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dave,

I have been a Hendry fan ever since I watched a young lad, with too long hair, and a baby face on TV way back in 1987. Indeed, like you said, he's come a long way and is still as hard as nails when it comes to winning matches.

I do believe the consistency that he had in the late eighties and throughout the nineties has dipped and he's perhaps not making as many centuries as he used to.

Fact remains, as he himself says as well, he's still someone to be reckoned with and I'm convinced his fellow professionals would rather draw someone else than him.

I also believe he still has another world championship left in him. Look at last year...only a classic and vintage performance in the 2nd session by Ronnie denied him a place in the final...and we all know how good Hendry is at winning finals - particularly in the Crucible.

Cheers,
Jurgen.

Matt@PSB said...

Was really glad that he could win yesterday, starting to worry about his poor start to the season and his sliding provisional ranking.

I really hope I'm wrong but I'm not sure that I see him staying in the top 16 for more than another season or two...

Anonymous said...

It'd be nice to think that Hendry could recapture some of the old magic but logic dictates that it is highly unlikely.
He did well at Sheffield because he made alterations to the way he played and,perhaps more importantly,thought.Unless he does this over the whole season he won't come close to winning another ranking event.
He is much closer now to being out of the top 16 then challenging for a ranking event.
I hope he manages to play well again but.....

Anonymous said...

His problems are all to do with confidence.When his confidence is high like we saw at the crucible he is still a wonderful player.Only the greatest display of snooker you are ever going to see denied him an eight world title
I am too young to remember the glory years but he has still given me some great memories and some very painful ones(I am still trying to get over the 2002 world final,how did he miss that yellow). like O,Sullivan he is a genius.I know it is unlikely that he will win another world title but I still live in hope.
Whatever some people say he is without doubt the greatest player of all time.At his best he was perfection.Just ask Jimmy White.I will never have have the same level of respect,admiration and affection for another player.
Thank you Stephen