Stephen Hendry began the decade as world champion and ends it as world no.10.
This represents a decline but it has not been a dramatic one, more a gradual falling away and, make no mistake, he’s still a tough proposition and as determined as ever.
Hendry won four ranking titles during the decade, the last in 2005. He appeared in 12 ranking finals. Only Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams featured in more.
But his chief battle was with his own past. This was a man who won 27 titles and appeared in 38 finals from the 90 ranking events staged in the 1990s.
At one stage he won five in a row. The last time someone won two in a row in this decade was five years ago.
Such an unprecedented record of success could never be sustained and so any dip in form would be pounced on by those wishing to say he was no longer the force he once was.
And, of course, he isn’t but, as he proved at the Crucible just this year, he is capable of raising his game on the big occasions, though not for prolonged enough spells to seriously threaten for major titles.
Let us also remember that his consistency enabled him to return to the top of the rankings in 2006.
For fans of the 90s Hendry, it can be painful watching him struggle. Yet, when commentators say things such as “he never missed a long ball 15 years ago” they are quite obviously wrong. He, like all players, had his off days, even in his pomp. He just has more now than he did then.
And the difference now is that attention is more acutely focused on his mistakes because they appear to represent a general narrative: that this is a legend in sad decline, never to recapture former glories.
Stephen himself has spoken of the “chaos in my head” when he’s at the table. This stems from his own inability to accept that he isn’t the Hendry of old. He is perhaps expecting too much of himself. When, as Steve Davis did, he comes to terms with the fact that the golden age has gone, he may relax a little more and find some form.
To still be good enough to occupy tenth place in the rankings at the age of 40 proves how good he can still be.
For hour upon hour in his snooker room at home, he puts in the work. Just as in all those finals against Jimmy White, the desire to prove people wrong, to prove himself, still burns deep.
He no longer dominates the game but, rest assured, Hendry will forever, in the words of Dylan Thomas, rage against the dying of the light.