Stephen Hendry’s 2012 World Championship started with a maximum and ended with a 13-2 drubbing to Stephen Maguire and his retirement from tournament snooker.

This was a typically newsworthy tournament for Hendry, who at 43 has taken the decision to put away his cue for good.

He is still better than most players on the circuit but not good enough by his own imperious standards.

All the plaudits and accolades coming his way tonight are heartfelt and well deserved but Hendry doesn’t need them. He has his unparalleled record of success to reflect on.

It was a surprise, spur of the moment Christmas present from his parents in 1982 which set the ball rolling for a remarkable career.

You don’t need me to recount the wins and the moments which have defined an entire snooker era.

Suffice to say that Hendry can walk away from his playing career with his head held high as the player whose achievements all others are still aiming for.

He was a truly driven individual who never allowed himself to get comfortable. Once he won a tournament he targeted the next one.

He once won five ranking events in succession. He was a relentless scoring machine who pioneered the modern, attacking era in which we now live.

As a man he has always been something of an enigma. It wasn’t only on the table where he kept his emotions hidden.

I’ve seen him rendered speechless by defeat but in his dealings with the media and in his role as a snooker legend he has been a great ambassador for the sport.

Like Steve Davis before him he has made the sacrifices necessary to be the best. Unlike Davis, though, he isn’t in love with playing but winning.

He has decided that he can no longer consistently produce a standard with which he is happy. His retirement is therefore understandable if regrettable. In many ways it is admirable. He is a realist. He has accepted his fate.

Ask any snooker player of the last 20 years and they will have nothing but respect for Hendry. His achievements will stand in time.

Good luck to him in the future. He will be working in China, will doubtless do BBC commentary and undertake exhibitions.

But there’s nothing like the visceral thrill of playing. And Stephen Hendry has thrilled many of us over the years with his talent, his guts, his uncompromising game.

He has chosen not to rage against the dying of the light by slogging around qualifiers but to make a typically dignified, unfussy exit from the stage he once owned.

This is surely the final triumph of the game’s greatest champion.


Anonymous said...

Yep I'dagree qith all of that

Dzierzgul said...

Sad news today, but I'm glad I was priviledged to watch him in the last couple of years and witness his final glorious moment at the opening day of this year's World Championship.

He changed the game, he won more than anyone and did it in style. Many of his records probably won't be beaten and certainly not by one player. He was a perfect professional and he has done plenty for snooker. Decades from now he will still be considered a true grandmaster.

I remember him saying once in an interview that there can never be a consensus about who's the greatest player in a given sport and so the best achievement is that your name must be mentioned every time someone has a conversation about this. And surely, whenever two people who know first thing about snooker discuss the greatest players, Hendry's name must come up.

So - although he doesn't read this - I'd like to thank him sincerely for the priviledge of watching him in action and wish him good luck for the future. And if he ever decides to play an exhibition in Poland, may he know he has plenty of fans here.

Dzierzgul said...

Also, Dave, a fantastic and classy post. Surely it wasn't easy to write, as you have always revered Hendry (and rightly so). Great piece (especially the last part) and, may I say, very SHREWD of you to describe him as "speechles by defeat"

Anonymous said...

Actually he may have another record here which you might be able to confirm David. He will end his career ranked 21st in the world after the WC points are tallied, so will this make him the highest ranked player to retire from the modern game?

JohnH said...

Sorry to see him retire after enjoying some great play from him in the last few months- His performance against Neil Robertson in the Welsh was for me the best of the season. Like many other retired greats I will miss watching him play.

Anonymous said...

best player to pick up a cue ever, wish him all the very best for the future.

Anonymous said...

Great post and comments. My earliest memories of being into sport were growing up, watching Snooker during the 90's.

Although my passions lie elsewhere now, I still make time to watch Snooker every now and then and can honestly say I'm devastated. He will always be considered among the greats!

Anonymous said...

The best player that we've seen. It is entirely possible the best player to ever pick up a cue was just in a shop one day, and then put it down again. It is possible there are aliens on some distant planet who have started playing snooker, and have superior hand and eye co-ordination. Let's think this through before getting carried away with all the soundbites.

Anonymous said...

ill be seeing the legend play at Goffs Ireland at snooker legends and hope to get a photo,,He is the best ever and everyone knows it,but it is a thin line between him and Steve Davis.. I hated hendry in the 90s for constantly beating white but he was awesome..not everyone may agree but one of my greatest memories was when Hendry got a 147 at the liverpool victoria tournament. He was something like 9-2 up against o sullivan and ronnie can back to level at 9-9. Then hendry knocked in a max to win match and tournament. amazing

Claus said...

What a miserable day this is turning out to be. If only his will to fight could match his own high demands and expectations we wouldn't be witness to this.

Snookerwise, this is the saddest news I have ever heard (not counting Paul Hunter etc.).

I will cling to hope that he regrets but it seems to be a very final decision.... I am officially bummed out.

Anonymous said...

The King is dead, long live....well no-one, as Hendry is irreplaceable. Thanks for the memories Stephen.

Anonymous said...


As often a very good piece again...though I still regret his decision to retire.

Allow me to plug a link to an article I read some years ago in the Guardian...http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2008/oct/17/snooker

Sums it up really..."Balls the size of Elgin Marbles"

To quote someone else "truer words have ne'er been spoken".

Glory is temporary, class is eternal. The king has retired, long live the King!


Anonymous said...

you are my hendo
super hendo
you make me happy, when skies are grey....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9.17, do you mean Stephen or Dave?

Anonymous said...

What I can't understand is why he's going to represent China POOL!! Surely he can't be short of money or has the ongoing financial crisis eaten away at his fortune?
I love snooker but all this getting into bed with STILL communist states makes me very uneasy.

Mat Wilson


Hi David. Sad to see Hendry retire, but thanks, from me, to him for all the memories.

A stat of the day, for yesterday, May 1st, 2012. Stephen Hendry retires.

Sad but understandable, his reasons

John Higgins once said, " Steve Davis love snooker. Stephen Hendry loves winning." How true.

Much more to come from me, over years to come, about this story.

Stephen Hendry M.B.E. - Snooker Legend.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Hendry invest most of his money in 110 Sport? He may well have some money problems after that went down the swanny. It seems to me pool players have longer careers, so it surprises me more of them don't do what Allison Fisher did and convert to pool in their late 30s. By 2009/10 it was becoming increasingly unlikely that Hendry would win another title, and these players could have another ten years of a viable cue sport career.

Kenn Fong said...

Dave, I came to the party late, so I never got to experience the thrill of watching Jimmy White and Stephen Hendry in their prime, but your two posts put their excellence and appeal into perspective without becoming fulsome. (Although one could argue it's not possible to overpraise Hendry's accomplishments.)

Anonymous said...

mat wilson - racist

Anonymous said...

He was a share holder in 110 sport and Stephen Hendry Snooker was wound up in 2011 because of £85k in tax owed- so who knows how much cash to hand he has. Old cliche perhaps asset rich- big house etc cash poor?

Anonymous said...

Don't be daft, me great-Grandad was a communist. You can't be racist against political systems. That was a very poor post. I'd advise a course in critical thinking skills before trying again:-)

Mat Wilson

Anonymous said...

Mat wilson shpould go back to school. China has been a capitalist country for 3 decades now. There is more government intervention than Western countries but thats no harm- Pity Britain didnt have more, there'd be no need for all this austerity now.

Is Wilson really suggesting that Hendry is doing something wrong by accepting a lucrative offer from snookers largest growth area because he (Wilson) disagrees with the political system there.
Im sure Hendry will cancel his retirement when he sees that post. lol

Toestubber said...

Ah, so China is a capitalist country now is it? Maybe for the few but for the vast majority it is a slave state. Any country which espouses capitalist doctrine when a one-party state is a Fascist entity. So I got it wrong it is a Fascist state, so that makes it okay then having 99% of the population living on ~$2 a day when someone who is good at hitting a ball with a piece of wood makes millions?

Anonymous said...

Don't be daft, me great-Grandad was a communist. You can't be racist against political systems. That was a very poor post. I'd advise a course in critical thinking skills before trying again:-)

Mat Wilson

11:53 PM
im not daft
i coulnt care less about your grandad.

your post was a negative post about a race, in general.

to me, thats racist. to many thats racist.

you may not think it is. youre entitled to that opinion, no matter how wrong it is.

Anonymous said...

oh, well said 1114

Toestubber said...

12:09 anonymous

How was I criticising a race? Show me where please. I capitalized the word POOL as I am suprised that Stephen Hendry is promoting POOL. Criticising communism cannot in any way, shape or form cannot be construed as racism. I completely fail to understand how you can connect the two.

Mat Wilson

Anonymous said...

china pool....getting into bed with communist states

i know you capitalised pool

had you not put in the word chinese then went on to call them a communist state, being negative about CHINA (just because you never capitalised it doesnt make the word invisable), was racist imho.

if it doesnt fir with you being called a racist, dont make slurs about countrys/ethnic groups slanting them all in general.

Toestubber said...

China pool is NOT a racist statement. Stephen Hendry said "China Pool" in his press conference. I was repeating what he said and emphasising the POOL element. Please DO NOT put words in my mouth.

China is a communist state, this is a statement of FACT. There are no ethnic/racial slurs in that statement whatsoever.

I didn't use the word Chinese anywhere in my post, stop putting words in my mouth, please.

There are no ethnic slurs in my post, stop putting words in my mouth.

Communist state does not equal Chinese race. Being that there is no Chinese race in the first place makes you look pretty silly.

George Orwell turns once more in his grave.

Mat Wilson

Anonymous said...

i never put any words in your mouth

what i put, i copied from yours.

to me, your post was offensive and racist.

if you werent meaning to be either, thats fair enough, but i took it as that and imho it was racist.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:04 PM

You are a clown of the highest order my fat friend.

Anonymous said...

lol 1118, if i was fat id call you fattist.

Anonymous said...

Re suggestions he is short of money or whatever: factually he did let a company he used Stephen Hendry Snooker Limited get wound up over what in his pomp would have been perhaps 5% of his yearly income- 85k and he did have more than a small shareholding in 110 sport but Sunday Times sport rich list has him worth £10 million


Hi David. 7 times world champion. 6 times London Masters, and 5 times U.K. Champion. Many more great things. The ovation he got last night, was superb. Deserved, and got me emotional, watching, and recording, as I was, from home.

Mark said...

Stephen has statistically been the best player yet, but ever? That's a long time and it's unrealistic to compare eras. Nevertheless, I hope he enjoyes his retirement; he's done his bit

Anonymous said...

Where on Earth has this myth come from that Stephen Hendry is statistically the best ever? Probably a myth spread about by bloggers seeking to portrey opinion as fact. Joe Davis has won more world titles, so have others, also Steve Davis has more professional titles to his name. These aren't opinions they are simple facts. Please Dave spare us the sententious hogwash of the "unparalleled" career of Hendry, there is enough of that kind of stuff around the internet already. Hendry was the best in the 90's, that much is clear and there happened to be a whole lot of money and tournaments swishing around in that era too which would automatically magnify his achievements; where exactly his achievements stand relative to others from different eras is unclear and always subjective.