My last post on this blog has brought more discussions and reactions about the “Hendry Tour Card” than I expected.
Maybe it’s unrelated but Hector Nunns himself has shared his original article on social media again, which is unusual.and David Caulfield – SnookerHQ – has shared his own views on the topic.
The dominant feelings expressed in David’s piece are disappointment and incomprehension. The title it self sets the tone: what was the point indeed?
Stephen Hendry himself said that his goal was to return to the Crucible one last time. One feeling he expressed a couple of times is that, in his last match he didn’t put up a proper fight and this is not the way he wants to remember his last appearance in a place he has dominated for nearly a decade. His last match was indeed a total abdication. I can understand his desire to put things right, but I’m not sure that he approached his comeback the correct way if that was his goal. Ronnie himself recently said that if you don’t play regularly you are left behind… and he was talking about missing a few tournaments, not about going into retirement for several years.
The overall feeling amongst those who commented about this subject on social media in recent days is that Hendry should NOT be offered another invitational tour card because, basically, he hasn’t played enough and has somehow “wasted” the one he got. I can see where these feelings come from. A significant number of persons expressed the opinion that invitational tour cards should not be given at all.
I can also see the reasons why Stephen was reluctant to play despite taking the tour card. When the announcement was made that he was returning to playing professionally it rose a lot of expectations … unrealistic expectations. I remember people still believing that he would wipe the floor with most of the opposition. I wonder where those guys and gals had been to still carry such beliefs. When Hendry retired, in 2012, he wasn’t wiping the floor with anyone, and had not done so for many years. After retiring, he had played on the Seniors tour a bit but had not even reached the final of any event. It is totally understandable that he did not want to disgrace himself and he knew that he was nowhere the required level.
However, there was only one way he could possibly have regained the needed match sharpness and that’s by playing… playing as much as he possibly could.
I would love to hear from Hendry himself about a number of things: why he approached it the way he did, wether he would commit to play more if given the opportunity, and, of course, his views on the last two years and wether he would take a new invitational tour card IF offered it.
And of course, as it stands, there is no certainty that he will play in the World qualifiers this time round. He hasn’t played at all this year so far.