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Stephen Hendry, MBE (born January 13, 1969 in South Queensferry, Edinburgh) is a Scottish professional snooker player, whose achievements make him one of the most successful players of the modern era. He spent a record eight consecutive years at Number 1 in the world rankings, has won the World Snooker Championship a record seven times, and was the youngest World Champion at the age of 21.
Amateur Years (1981-1985)
Hendry started playing snooker in 1981, aged 12. Two years later he won the National U-16 Championship. He also appeared on BBC's Junior version of Pot Black. The following year he won the Scottish Amateur Championship and also became the youngest ever entrant in the World Amateur Championship. In 1985, after retaining the Scottish Amateur Championship, he turned professional. At 16 years and three months old he was youngest ever professional.
Professional Career (1986-1988)
In his first season he reached the last 32 in the Mercantile Credit Classic and was the youngest ever Scottish Professional champion. In the next season he retained that title and reached the quarter-finals of both the Grand Prix and World Championship, and the semi-finals of the Mercantile Credit Classic. Hendry and Mike Hallett combined to win that year's World Doubles Championship. In 1987/88 Hendry won his first world ranking titles, the Grand Prix and the British Open. he also claimed three other tournament victories, retaining both the Scottish Professional Championship and the World Doubles Championship (with Hallett), and the Australian Masters. By the end of that season he was ranked world no. 4 and was voted the BBC Scotland Sports Personality of the Year.
No ranking titles came his way the following season, although he did win the New Zealand Masters and also his first Masters at Wembley.
Glory Years (1989-1999)
The 1989/1990 season saw the beginning of Hendry's period of dominance. That year he won the UK Championship, Dubai Classic, Asian Open, Scottish Masters, Wembley Masters and his first World Championship. This saw him rise to the summit of the World Rankings at the age of 21. The following season he set a record of five world ranking titles in a season and recorded a hat-trick of Masters. In 1991/92 Hendry regained the World title, adding to the victories in both the Grand Prix and the Welsh Open. He won the Masters, too, and achieved his first competitive 147 break, in the Matchroom League. A year later he retained both his World Championship title and a fifth consecutive Masters crown. The following season he retained the World Championship, narrowly beating Jimmy White 18-17 in the final.
In 1994/95, after being awarded an MBE, he won three ranking events, including another World crown and the UK Championship, both of which were retained the following year. His run of successes continued in 1995/96 with three titles, including the World Championship, where an 18-12 victory in the final against Peter Ebdon saw him equal the achievement of Ray Reardon and Steve Davis by notching up a sixth World crown. He also achieved the ``Grand Slam of snooker that season by winning the Grand Prix, UK Championship, Masters and World Championships. In 1997 he won BBC Scotland Sports Personality of the Year award for a second time and added another three ranking titles to his collection, although Ken Doherty denied him a sixth consecutive World championship by defeating the Scot 18-12 in the final.
Hendry's dominant position in snooker appeared to be on the wane, as the only ranking event he won in the 1997/98 season was the Thailand Masters. He also lost his World no. 1 place for the first time since 1990 and was eliminated in the first round of the World Championship, losing heavily to White (4-10). However, in 1998/99, a resurgent Hendry won the last two events in the campaign - the Scottish Open and a record seventh World title. After beating Ronnie O'Sullivan 17-14 in their semi-final, he emerged as a convincing 18-11 winner over future double World Champion Mark J. Williams. This is Hendry's last World Championship title. Since then he has won only five titles but has never dropped out of the Top 16 in the rankings.
Recent Years (1999-present)
In 1999/2000 he lifted one ranking title, the British Open, where he made the fifth 147 break of his career and the first maximum in a ranking final. By Hendry's high standards the 2000/2001 season was a disappointment, as he failed to win a ranking event for the first time since 1988 season and reached only one final. Still he won the European Open the next season and came close to an eighth World Championship. Having eliminated defending champion O'Sullivan in the semi-finals (17-13), he lost narrowly to Peter Ebdon in the final (17-18). The Welsh Open in 2002/2003 and British Open in 2003/2004 came his way, with his victory in the Malta Cup of 2005 being his most recent ranking success. However, Hendry regained the world no. 1 position in 2005/2006 due to consistency in reaching the latter stages of tournaments without, by his own admission, reproducing his form of old.http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/snooker/6603987.stm He is now ranked World number eight.
Hendry's other career records include: total ranking titles, consecutive wins of a single tournament, total tournament wins in one season, longest consecutive winning streak (in ranking events), most centuries compiled in one match, most centuries compiled in one tournament, most career centuries and total prize money. He also holds jointly with O'Sullivan, who equalled him in late 2007, the record for most 147s compiled in competitive play (8). Hendry has won 65 professional titles (not including his three Scottish Professional titles). This puts him second on the all-time list of professional championships won behind Steve Davis' 73.http://www.globalsnookercentre.co.uk/files/Players/Global_Europe/Global_Scotland/p_profile017.htm In all, Hendry has won 79 titles (68 professional and 11 amateur).
Hendry tends to play at a steady pace. He devised the now universal tactic of potting the blue with pace and heavy backspin on the white ball to cannon into the pack of reds and develop them for break-building. Aside from his break-building consistency, Hendry's ability at long potting was crucial to his success, as was his knack of potting balls in the middle pocket during a break. Throughout his career he has played very aggressively, more often than not attempting quite difficult pots and trying to break open the reds early in a break rather than waiting until all open reds have been potted. In this way he has compiled more than 700 competitive century breaks.http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Centuries.htm However, as he has got older, his standard of break-building and long potting have declined a little, and his aggressive instincts have given his opponents more opportunities than used to be the case.
Off the Table
Hendry was brought up in Fife, where he attended Inverkeithing High School. He now lives in the small town of Auchterarder with his wife Mandy, whom he married in 1995, and sons Blaine (born 1996) and Carter (born 2004). He lives close to Gleneagles and has a single-figure golf handicap. He enjoys poker and is one of the few snooker players who has appeared in a televised poker tournament. Hendry is also keenly interested in football and music, supporting Scottish side Hearts.
When returning to Scotland from the Thailand Open in September 2003, Hendry had his cue broken. The cue, which he had owned since he was aged 14 and had cost him £40, had been used when winning his 7 world titles http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/snooker/3199523.stm. Snooker players have been required to put their cues in the holds of aeroplanes, meaning that much heavier items are sometimes placed on top of them. Earlier in the same year, Mark Williams had his cue bent when flying with Ryanair and attempted to claim damages for loss of earnings http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_east/2939779.stm.
Stephen Hendry was also rated as the greatest player of all time in a book by Luke Williams and Paul Gadsby titled "Master of the Baize". He finished above Joe Davis, Steve Davis, Alex Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan who were the others in the authors top five. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/snooker/4444185.stm
- World Championship: 7 (1990, 1992–96, 1999)
- UK Championship: 5 (1989–90, 1994–96)
- Grand Prix: 4 (1987, 1990–91, 1995)
- British Open: 4 (1988, 1991, 1999, 2003)
- Welsh Open: 3 (1992, 1997, 2003)
- Scottish Open: 3 (1993, 1997, 1999)
- Malta Cup: 4 (1994–95, 2001, 2005)
- Thailand Masters: 1 (1998)
- The Classic: 3 (1989–90, 1993)
- Asian Open: 2 (1989–90)
- The Masters: 6 (1989–93, 1996)
- Irish Masters: 3 (1992, 1997, 1999)
- Malta Grand Prix: 2 (1998, 2001)