The 2021 Gibraltar Open is about to start and the man talking point ahead of the tournament is Stephen Hendry’s return.
WST have published this video on their YouTube channel
GIBRALTAR OPEN 2021: ‘I BASICALLY GAVE UP’ – STEPHEN HENDRY HOPING TO MAKE UP FOR ‘EMBARRASSMENT’
Stephen Hendry confirmed he would appear at the Gibraltar Open – staged in Milton Keynes – which runs from March 1 to March 7 live on Eurosport. A legend of snooker, having recorded 775 century breaks in his decorated career, Hendry says he wants to prove the doubters wrong and make up for his last loss back in 2012.
Seven-time world title winner Stephen Hendry says he wants to make up for an “embarrassing” loss nine years ago when he makes his comeback at the Gibraltar Open aged 52 next week.
“I lost 13-2 to Steve Maguire [in the quarter-finals] and I basically gave up about a third of the way through the match,” he told The Times.
I KNEW IT WAS OVER. I KNEW I COULDN’T COMPETE.
“I would like my last match at the Crucible, if possible, to be a match I can look back on and think, ‘I played well, I did everything I could even if I lost.
“I want a game when I can be happy with what I gave rather than that 13-2 embarrassment.
“One of my goals in this comeback is not about winning but just to get back to the Crucible.
I AM GOING TO HAVE TO WIN FOUR MATCHES [IN QUALIFYING] JUST TO GET THERE, ALMOST A MINI-TOURNAMENT, SO IT’S GOING TO BE SO, SO DIFFICULT. BUT THERE’S NO POINT IN SETTING YOURSELF EASY GOALS.
Judd Trump says it would be a “surprise” to him if Hendry “won any games at all” on his return.
Hendry insists he is not fussed by the talk and compares his comeback to that made by golfer Tiger Woods.
“I heard some of the same stuff when Tiger Woods was coming back, that he wouldn’t be able to compete because the young players were hitting it longer than him now,” he said.
EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO THEIR OPINION. I JUST SAW JUDD, WE’VE HAD A LAUGH ABOUT IT. IT WOULD MAKE IT NICE TO WIN MY FIRST MATCH AND SAY, ‘THERE YOU GO.’
Hendry believes that the overall standard of the tour has not significantly improved since his prime years.
He added: “The top players are great, great players but there is still a lot of snooker out there where I think: ‘There’s nothing there that I wasn’t doing’.”
“My return feels like a double-edged sword. I am a scalp, I’ve still got the name someone wants to beat but, then, who wants to lose to me in my first match since 2012? There’s pressure both ways.“
So, that’s a bit different from what we have seen elsewhere.
I was at the Crucible, taking pictures that year, and in the media room. It was all strange. Stephen dry had needed to qualify for the World Championship that year. He had beaten Gerard Greene by 10-8. He then completely dominate Stuart Bingham in the first round , beating him 10-4 and making a maximum, and John Higgings who was defending champions, beating him by 13-4. He had been unusually animated after his maximum. Then against Stephen Maguire, he struggled. The third frame was close, but Stephen made a mistake at a crucial moment and then it was as if he had been knocked out, it went all spiralling down. It was as if every belief had left him. After the match, he came to the media room, sat down, and calmly said “I have played my last professional match”. It took (almost) everyone by surprise. There was a stunned silence in the room. Stephen then explained that he had taken his decisions months earlier. That he didn’t like the new structure of the tour, didn’t want to struggle in qualifier and wasn’t prepared to carry on if he could not win anymore.
Good luck to him on his return. It’s quite the challenge.