Based on what we’ve seen so far Stephen Hendry and Jamie Cope should win at the Ladbrokes Mobile Masters today.
Hendry was the king of Wembley two decades ago, winning his first 23 matches in the Masters. Like the Beatles, he did it all in his twenties and had nothing to prove thereafter.
The six times Masters champion has a cast of his hands on Wembley’s walk of fame, the only snooker player to be afforded such an honour.
But all that is in the past. Hendry turns 42 tomorrow and his recent form has been woeful.
His decline his been gradual. He was still playing world class snooker in 2003, was runner-up in the 2006 UK Championship and a semi-finalist in the World Championship three years ago.
Since then there has been little to write home about. Hendry was right at the bottom of the betting pre-tournament and, despite all the shocks, has done little of late to suggest he can beat world champion Neil Robertson today.
Then again, the same could be said of Steve Davis in 1997 and he won the title.
Jamie Cope is the only debutant in the Masters this year. He takes his Wembley Arena bow tonight against Shaun Murphy, who is yet to do much in the Masters.
Cope is capable of excellent snooker but his temperament doesn’t always match his talent and the Wembley venue is huge with no place to hide.
We’ve had six results and the higher ranked player in each match has lost but I can’t see that trend continuing today.