Today, in Valencia, Valentino Rossi bid farewell to MotoGP. At 42, with 115 wins and 9 World Titles to his name, the famous nr 46 put an end to his extraordinary career. He finished 10th in the competition, and this season, his last, has been disappointing, but his very last lap was pure Valentino Rossi celebration. There was a lot of emotion … in the paddocks, in the “yellow” tribunes … and amongst his rivals who gathered around him at the end. He went out as a celebrated champion.
All the best for the future Vale, and thank you!
In stark contrast, Stephen Hendry’s farewell to snooker was very low key. On May 1, 2012, Stephen Hendry, aged 43, lost by 13-2 to Stephen Maguire, sat calmly in the media room and simply said “I have played my last professional match”, a sentence met by stunned silence in the room. Stephen had made a 147 in the first round, beaten the defending champion, John Higgins, in the second round, but this last match was an abdication. He went out with a session to spare. There was no fight, no panache at all. After a few errors early in the match, he gave up. This is not how a great champion should go out. There was a tribute at the Crucible on the next day, but Stephen looked quite shy out there, almost uneasy.
Since his return to the professional tour, Stephen Hendry hasn’t been pulling any trees. Most recently, he was beaten 4-0 by Chris Wakelin (who played very well).
After such heavy defeat, this is what Stephen had to say to Eurosport:
Hendry admits his ultimate dream is to return to the Crucible Theatre by qualifying for the World Championship, scene of his greatest victories in 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1999 – and will accept another World Snooker wildcard in future if he feels like there is room for improvement.
“I’m enjoying the process, my game is improving all the time on the practice table,” said the seven-times world champion, who is competing on the second year of a two-year invitational wildcard with White extending his golden 41-year career via similar playing privileges.
“I know that kind of means nothing, but when I first started with (my coach) Stephen Feeney, I wanted to get back to enjoying playing snooker again even if it was on the practice table.
THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO PLAY ONE MORE MATCH AT THE CRUCIBLE. TO QUALIFY FOR THAT WOULD BE INCREDIBLE. ALL THESE MATCHES ARE PART OF THE PROCESS, AND GETTING ME COMFORTABLE IN ARENAS AGAIN.
I know that many fans believe that there is no point to this, that he’s just embarrassing himself, that the focus should be on the young ones. I agree with this last part, but, I believe that there is room for both the young guns and the older legends.
I wasn’t into snooker when Stephen was winning everything, I wasn’t a fan of him, in the last 8 years of his career, but I sincerely wish him to fulfill his dream to play (at least) another match at the Crucible, that the last one is one he can be proud of, one he fights through to the last ball and comes out of with his head high, saluted by a standing ovation. He’s a great, great Champion, he deserves to take farewell of the Crucible on a high.