Ten years ago, around this time, I went to Croydon for the inaugural Champions Cup.
Those were the days. There were nine ranking events plus six televised invitation tournaments. Snooker was ending the decade as it had begun it: as one of television sport's great success stories.
And it was ending it with Stephen Hendry as world champion.
It’s all too easy for people to forget now just what an extraordinary impact Hendry had on snooker from a very young age.
He remains the youngest player ever to compete at the Crucible. He is still the youngest world champion.
Like the Beatles, he did it all by the time he was 30. His record seventh world title triumph in 1999 came just a few months after this milestone.
When he was 19, Hendry said he would retire by 30. He could have done, as well, as he had nothing left to prove, but like all great champions he wanted more...and more...and more.
Hendry won that first Champions Cup and the British Open that followed. He remained a leading force for several more years and was world no.1 for the 2006/07 season.
Yet, in the last couple of years he has found results harder to come by and starts the new campaign outside the top eight for the first time in 21 years.
At 40, is this decline irreversible?
What does the future hold for the game’s greatest ever player?
Well, logic suggests that his slide down the rankings will continue. However, the evidence of other great players proves that it is possible to stem the tide.
Alex Higgins did it in the late 1980s/early 90s. He would have been back in the top 16 in 1990 had he not been banned for a year for a litany of indefensible incidents.
Jimmy White did it as well. In 2004 he reached two ranking finals, winning the Players Championship, and rose to eighth in the rankings, even if he then declined again.
And, of course, Steve Davis has proved an immovable object. His run to the final of the 2005 UK Championship was a reminder that the legends are made of different stuff to the rest.
Hendry doesn’t lack for motivation. Sure, he may not like practising as much as he once did but he still relishes competition.
It would be foolish to just write him off. At the last two World Championships he has shown that, on the big stage, he can still deliver strong performances.
Last season he referred to his problem being “the chaos in my head” whenever he came to the table.
I believe this chaos stems from Hendry’s inability to accept that he isn’t as good as he was. However, he doesn’t need to be that good to remain in the top 16. If he can accept that the glory days are over, he can relax and start to enjoy snooker more.
And if that happens, he may find that results start to come more regularly.
There are new challenges to look forward to. Hendry is heavily involved in 110sport’s new internet channel and will take centre stage in a showpiece match against Ding Junhui in China.
There is also the satisfaction, now that he is the oldest member of the top 16, of putting some of the young pretenders to the sword.
The 90s are becoming a distant memory. There is a whole generation of snooker fans who don’t remember Hendry at his best.
But every now and again, as in making his maximum at the Crucible this year, he reminds everyone of what he is capable of.
In Croydon ten years ago, as he looked ahead to the new season and reflected on his seventh world title, Hendry told me: “If I never win another match, it won’t bother me.”
I didn’t believe it then and I don’t believe it now.
Winning is what drives any great champion. The quest to prove everyone wrong and be a winner again still drives Stephen Hendry.