Stephen Hendry rocked the snooker world last night by announcing retirement from the game he has conquered.
The seven-time Crucible king sat smiling in his chair as he sunk to a 13-2 defeat to Stephen Maguire. This mystified most but all was revealed straight after the match as he hung up his cue for good.
|Picture by Monique Limbos|
The sport’s staunchest fans were left gutted by the end of a remarkable legend but Hendry can walk away from snooker with his head held high. He’s broken every record going in the modern game and leaves the game with nothing to answer.
Despite a heavy defeat to finish at the Crucible, he has marked his final appearance at the great venue with a trip to the quarter-finals, a win against the defending champion and another marvellous 147 break. That's what you call ending on a high.
The timing of Stephen’s announcement stunned many but we shouldn’t be too surprised.
It was only a year ago that Hendry flirted with the idea of retirement and it’s clear this decision hasn’t come without serious consideration, and brings a great weight lifted from his shoulders.
Year on year he returns to Crucible adulation but coming to terms with life being knocked out in the early rounds isn’t easy for such a true winner.
Hendry’s sheer determination to win makes him an enigma. Never has the game seen such a pure champion. Winning has been his sole drive and the ruthlessness he showed in his prime was simply unplayable.
The plaudits are already pouring in for Hendry and his greatness is unquestionable. He has the unique of a champion but now he can look back on his career with great pride.
Hendry remains good enough to play for many more years on the professional circuit but being unable to match his own incredibly high standards is unbearable for him.
Hendry’s decision has left snooker in a state of shock but he owes nothing to anyone.
Mr Stephen Hendry, you are a legend!