World Snooker Championship: Sad Hendry exits Crucible and ponders retirement
Stephen Hendry signed off from the Crucible possibly for the final time and insisted: “I've not had a bad time here.”
The seven-time winner was crushed 13-4 by Mark Selby who set a new Betfred.com World Championship record of six centuries in a match, serving up a performance reminiscent of Hendry at his best.
Hendry confirmed he could be ready to retire at the age of 42, saying: “I'll decide in the summer. I'm not going to decide straight away, I've got things to think about. We'll see.
“I've still got the game but I haven't got the self-belief to play with these guys.”
The Scot, arguably his country's greatest sportsman, has an astonishing career record. With £8.8million banked in prize-money, 36 ranking event titles, many more non-ranking triumphs, eight years as world number one and 10 maximum 147 breaks, he stands ahead of the likes of Steve Davis and Ray Reardon as snooker's all-time greatest player.
He has gone six years without a title, but even though recent form has left Hendry dispirited, he would retire with very few regrets.
“If someone said you could have 26 years here, win it seven times and be in two more finals, make two 147s, I think most people would take that,” said the emotional Scot.
“I've not had a bad time here. I wasn't a bad player.
“I've won the World Championship seven times which is a record the last time I looked.”
Whatever he decides in the coming weeks, Hendry will not walk away from snooker.
“I'll still be involved in the sport,” he said.
“I love playing in the arena but I hate not being competitive. Coming down here and not really believing you can win the World Championship is not what it's about for me. Enjoyment in the game is all about winning and if I can't win I'm not going to enjoy it.
“It's for me and my family to decide, to see what's best.
“I've got one or two things in the pipeline which I can't talk about for the minute.
“There's still exciting times ahead for me. I'll be involved in snooker in some shape or form because it's all I know.”
Meanwhile, Antrim’s Mark Allen starts his quarter-final today against Mark Williams.