Wow. Following his 13-2 defeat to Stephen Maguire at the Crucible, the game’s greatest ever player Stephen Hendry has just announced his retirement from professional snooker during his post-match press conference.
Click below to read how Stephen made the announcement…
Q: “Stephen, was the third frame when you missed the pink the moment when psychologically the match ran away from you?”
SH: “Yeah you could say that, it was a bad miss. I just didn’t settle today at all. I was really nervous at the start and just didn’t get going. At one stage I was just relieved to get a frame, I don’t want my last match here to be 13-0.”
Q: “You say you were nervous, did that surprise you because you have just beaten the defending champion in style, surprised that you felt edgy at the start?”
SH: “I was edgy at the start of Higgins as well, I went 2-0 down, I was edgy in the first frame against Bingham but I scraped through that frame, so I haven’t started well in any of my matches. It just gets harder and harder, Stephen played really well, he did a good job on me today and punished me heavily on all of my mistakes”
Q: Your well known on your golden years for dishing out that kind of punishment, it’s a lonely place isn’t it when things start to go from bad to worse?
SH: “Yeah, it’s not the best place. But I’ll miss it, I’ll miss it.”
Q: “So you just said you will miss it, you just said your last match, is that it then? Are you announcing your retirement?“
SH: “Yeah, I’m officially retired now from tournament snooker. I made the decision about three months ago. I didn’t tell many people, I’ve told two or three people but yeah, this is me finished from tournament snooker.”
Q: “Is that a difficult decision for you to make, given all the success you have had, to walk away from the sport that you have graced for so long?”
SH: “It wasn’t really to be honest. It was quite an easy decision. There are a few reasons that I am not going to go into detail and bore you with. The schedule didn’t help, the fact that I’m not playing the snooker I want to play didn’t help, the fact that I don’t enjoy practice doesn’t help. I want to do other things. I’ve got a lot of commitments now in China which I’ve signed for and I can’t do both. I can’t do that and play snooker because I would never be at home. The time is right for me.”
Q: “Did anything that happened here over the last few days make you think well maybe…”
SH: “Not at all, not at all. If I had won it, it would have been an even better way to go out. I’m delighted that I’ve made a maximum here, that’s why I was more animated than normally when making it. I was delighted to do it on my last appearance here.”
Q: “You look very, very comfortable with that decision?”
SH: “I made it a while ago. It was not a spur of the moment thing. Obviously I thought about it last year. Two or three months ago I just decided enough was enough.
Q: “You have had so many great moments here, is there one that stands out for you as something that you will never forget?”
SH: “God I’ve have so many memories here it’s hard to pinpoint special ones. Your first time here, my first win here, obviously the seventh world title, making maximums. I could write a book on the memories I have had here.”
Q: “Is there any sense of you feeling that you could shed a tear as you say all of this?”
SH: “No. Not really, you know what I’ve been like throughout the years, I have never been the most emotional person when I win. It’s sad that I won’t play here again, I love playing here. It’s a relief as much as anything.”
Q: “Are you optimistic about the future of the game, are you leaving it in good hands?”
SH: “Erm, yeah I think so, I think so.”
Q: “What has been the greatest moment for you here?”
SH: “As I say, the seventh world title, being the youngest champion, nobody has beaten that yet and seven world titles. I haven’t got a lot of things to regret in my career,”
Q: “Was it a family decision, did you spend a lot of time agonising about it?”
SH: “I’ve not told many people about it but yeah it was the right decision to make. Obviously it’s sad that your last match is a 13-2 drubbing but that is just the way that it went. At least it wasn’t a 13-nil. My form, I haven’t been able to play the way I want to play for the last ten year and it has just ground me down and down and down, just getting beat in the first and second rounds to people who I still know are not as good as me. After a while it becomes too much.”
Q: “Does it feel like a relief?”
SH: “Yeah, yeah absolutely.”
Q: “What next?”
SH: “As I say I have got a lot of commitments in China. I’ve signed to be the international ambassador of Chinese pool. I’ve signed with a company out there who are now my exclusive agents, Joy Billiards and I will be doing a lot of stuff with them in the future.”
Q: “Not as fun as playing out there?”
SH: “No but I think I’ve had a decent career!”
Stephen is then given a round of applause he leaves the press area at the Crucible for the final time.