The announcement yesterday that Stephen Hendry is returning to the professional game was of course a big, big talking point.
It was of course all over the press, so here are a few links you may want to follow
The original is in Portuguese, but you can probably get a reasonable translation using google.
- Stephen had been working with Steve Feeney before the lockdown and was starting both to enjoy playing again and hitting the ball well. Their work was interrupted by the lockdown, but he went back to practice just ahead of the Seniors 2020 World Snooker Championship, where he reached the semi-finals. Stephen is never satisfied with his game, but recognised that he was playing better and missing the buzz of competing.
- His return to competition was discussed during a round of golf with Barry Hearn and Mark Williams. BH of course wanted an swift decision … and Stephen is still not sure he understands all the implications of what he has agreed to.
- He will definitely pick and choose. It’s not a full time return, and he won’t be practising 8 hours/day. Also, he does not want to go to qualifiers. But Barry Hearn warned him that he has to play otherwise he won’t get another chance.
- Stephen is determined to prepare seriously for the events he decides to enter. He believes that he can still compete, and that, except for Ronnie and Judd Trump, there is nobody on the tour playing at a higher level than the one he had in his prime. He knows that he will be an underdog, and he doesn’t want to put pressure on himself, by entertaining high expectations. But he dreams to be able to play at the Crucible again, to walk down the stairs, and fell the buzz emanating from the place and the crowd.
- For the immediate future he just wants to be able to play well, enjoy it and see where it takes him. He admits that if he plays badly and embarasses himself, it will be hard to take.
- His first event will probably be the UK championship. Being at the bottom of the rankings, he’s likely to play one of the very top players on the TV table in the first round. He relishes the challenge, but is not sure how it will go.
- He insists that the comeback has nothing to do with Ronnie taking his records away from him.
Now, there were too many reactions on social media to mention them all . But I can’t resist to share Mike Dunn’s take on Hendry’s return
There were fans arguing that those spots should go to deserving young players instead of returning “past glories”. But of course, there is a commercial side to it: Stephen will put bums on seats, he will get lines in the media. He still has many fans. On thing that is often overlooked is that it’s those players who attract sponsors and audience who make it possible to offer decent prize money for all. Every player on the tour benefits from what they bring.