Stephen Hendry to Miss World Championship Qualifying After Shock Reveal

Snooker legend, Stephen Hendry, will not be qualifying for the World Championship, following an official announcement.

Shane MacDermott

Last Updated: 2024-03-27

Louis Hobbs

4 minutes read

Stephen Hendry

Snooker royalty Stephen Hendry has revealed he has not entered this year’s snooker World Championship qualifiers.

The 55-year-old took the sport to new heights in the 90s as he won a staggering seven Crucible titles. He initially hung up his cue back in 2012 before coming out of retirement in 2020.

The dream was to once again walk down the hallowed Crucible steps at the sport’s spiritual Sheffield home. But he has severely struggled for results since returning to the professional circuit and has failed to win a match for two years.

Last year, his Crucible qualifying bid was scuppered in the first round as he endured a 10-4 hammering by James Cahill, the nephew of his former wife. 

Hendry: “I’m Not Going to Bother This Year”

And Hendry, whose two-year invitational tour card ends this season, said:

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I’ve not entered the World qualifying this year. I’m not going to bother this year.

“There’s a couple of reasons, it starts the day after the Tour Championship finishes,” explains Hendry. “I’ll have been working for TV all week and obviously not had much chance to practice, which I haven’t really done.”

“There’s a lot of things to do in between the Tour Championship and World Championship, so I thought I’d give it a miss this year,” added Hendry.

Hendry was adamant that it was never a full-time comeback to the tour and he simply missed the buzz of a big crowd.

But since his retirement u-turn, he has played the majority of his matches locked away behind closed doors in soulless qualifying venues with no crowds.

Image Credit: World Snooker Tour (WST)

Image Credit: World Snooker Tour (WST)

Lack of Motivation and Losing Grip on Nerves

A far cry from the packed houses in Asia, the Wembley Conference Centre, and the Crucible he was accustomed to, Hendry understandably struggled to get up for matches.

The Scottish potter has also struggled to put in the hours of practice that are needed to get results on the tour, and has preferred the golf course to a snooker table in recent years.

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It kills me when I miss easy shots.

Stephen Hendry

“For me, there are nerves which I never had before.”

“When I was playing properly and winning, I never had any nerves. Now it’s like I’m thinking ‘Oh god, don’t miss this.’”

“Or if I have a tough positional shot a bit of anxiousness creeps in. It’s hard to cope with, but it comes from not practicing really.”

“I can’t put in the hours like I used to. I was never going to put in six hours a day of practice to try and win an eight-world title. It was about me playing the events that I wanted to play in,” he explains.

From Global Arenas to Leisure Centers

Hendry got a new cue back in November, to the specification of the one he dominated the Crucible with, in a bid to reignite his desire to practice. But he added: "I used to play the Crucible when it was full, the Wembley Conference Centre in front of 3000 people.”

"I'd play in front of 3000 people in Hong Kong, to a full house. And now I'm playing in a leisure center with a swimming pool next to it.”

"I mean, how do you get yourself up that? That's the problem. All the qualifiers are in venues which are not very inspiring for me,” admits Hendry.

"But they have to [be] there and there's a purpose for these qualifiers.”

"But when you've played the venues I have, well you're looking for a wee bit of inspiration to get yourself up.”

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Shane MacDermott
Shane MacDermott Sports Writer

Shane is a respected journalist who has covered a range of sports for a number of years.