Is Stephen Hendry the Greatest Snooker Player of All Time?
No snooker fan would argue that Stephen Gordon Hendry is the most successful snooker player and the greatest player in the sport’s history. From 1990 to 1997, and again later in 2006, the Golden Boy was voted first.
Hendry has the record for the most seasons as the number one player, at nine.
He was 21 when he won his first World Championship in 1990, making him the youngest player ever to do so.
Fast forward to the 2012 World Championship, where he was defeated by Stephen Maguire and announced his retirement.
That year marked the conclusion of a great 31-year career.
However, in September 2020, he stated that he would return for a two-season invitational game on the World Snooker Tour.
He played his first match in 9 years in the Gibraltar Open in March 2021, after a delayed start.
Stephen Hendry | The Beginning
Stephen Hendry was born on January 13, 1969, to parents Gordon and Irene Hendry.
His family moved to Dalgety Bay, shown in a 1970s-style bungalow, after he was born and raised in Auchterarder, Tayside, Scotland.
“It was a step up for us; our previous home was smaller.”
“There were four of us living there: my mother, father, brother, and me,” he added.
He didn’t have a favorite room out of the six in the house; whichever room featured a TV would be his hangout space.
“I’d always be watching snooker and my hero, Jimmy White,” Hendry explained.
He usually played football with his mates outside until Christmas 1982, when he received a small snooker table.
He was 13 at the time, and snooker consumed all of his spare time.
Hendry became infatuated with the game and eventually traveled to Dunfermline to play on a full-size snooker table.
Unfortunately, when Hendry was 15, his parents split, forcing him to move to a municipal home in the village of Kirkliston with his brother.
Fortunately, it was snooker that forced him to go through that period.
Stephen Hendry’s Wife and Children
Hendry’s very first love
Stephen Hendry was married to his teen love, Mandy Tart, for nearly two decades before the couple divorced in 2014.
At the age of 16, Hendry met Mandy for the first time at a Pontins holiday camp.
He was quickly taken with Mandy and vice versa.
Mandy stayed by his side throughout his amateur career, before advancing to ranking events, and right up until the end of his professional snooker career. That is a degree of loyalty that is not typically found.
Divorce and a new love
Stephen Hendry divorced his wife of 19 years in 2014 for someone new.
Hendry’s divorce was not mutual; he left his wife for a new love.
Everyone admires him for his illustrious career, yet that was an unsuitable choice for a person of his caliber.
He allegedly fell in love with Lauren Thunder, a 26-year-old actress, and children’s entertainer at the time.
Hendry revealed how he fell for Lauren while still married to Mandy.
He claims that he met Lauren while selling merchandise at a Legends snooker event.
“She’s attractive, and we exchange smiles, but I don’t think anything of it.”
“Slowly, we start to say ‘Hi’ and make small chat,” Stephen Hendry writes in his memoir Me and the Table.
He also remarked that he does not go stomping over any woman who catches his eye.
The lovebirds became excellent friends over time; the Legends event was supported by the same crew, so Lauren and Hendry had plenty of opportunities to get to know each other.
“We recognize we’re falling in love after a while.” That’s really concerning.
“I’ve been married to the same woman for almost 30 years,” Hendry wrote.
Hendry and Mandy have two sons. Blaine Hendry, the elder son, was born in 1996, and Carter Hendry, the second son, was born eight years later in 2004.
None of the two boys have followed in their father’s footsteps, and little is known about them.
Stephen Hendry | Amateur Profession
His father gave him a child-sized snooker table for Christmas when he was 12 years old.
Stephen won the Scottish U-16 Championship when he was 14 years old so that investment paid off well.
Furthermore, the following year, he became the youngest contender ever in the World Amateur Championship, where he also won the Scottish Amateur Championship.
He possessed all the innate qualities to be a successful snooker player, and he just had two years of playing snooker before winning a national title.
In 1985, he defended his Scottish Amateur Championship title and turned professional.
He was only 16 years and three months old at the time, making him the youngest professional player ever.
Hendry had already established himself in his homeland. All that remained was to win the international competitions.
Hendry began his professional career by competing in the Mercantile Credit Classic, where he advanced to the final 32 before losing.
However, for a 16-year-old, this is still outstanding.
The world’s number one became the youngest player ever to qualify for the World Championship, a record he maintained until Luca Brecel broke it in 2012.
He did not last long in the World Championship, falling to Willie Throne.
Hendry successfully defended his Scottish Professional Championship against Jim Donnelly in 1987.
He reached the World Championship and Grand Prix quarterfinals the same year.
Hendry was competing against Joe Johnson in the World Championship quarterfinals when he made a mistake and failed to pot a red ball.
That single blunder cost him the game.
Johnson won both the frame and the game (13-12).
In the Grand Prix, Hendry defeated Dennis Taylor in the finals to claim his first ranking title.
He went on to win his second-ranking title the following year, in 1988.
In the finals of the British Open, he faced Mike Hallett (13-2).
He also won the World Doubles Championship with Mike Hallett, which he defended the following season, as well as the Scottish Professional Championship.
In the same year, he also won the Australian Masters.
For his remarkable performance that season, Hendry was positioned in the top four on the world leader board.
In addition, he was named BBC Scotland Sports Personality of the Year.
He did not win any ranking titles the following season, but he did win a few minor trophies.
Hendry won the New Zealand Masters and the Wembly Masters in 1989.
World Championship and Number One Ranking
Stephen Hendry’s domineering play began in 1989/90. That year, he won a total of six titles.
He won his first World Championship that season, defeating Jimmy White in the finals.
This achievement propelled him to the top of the leaderboard; at the age of 21, he was the best snooker player in the world.
He also won the Dubai Classic, UK Championship, Asian Classic, Wembly Masters, and Scottish Masters in addition to the World Championship.
The following season, 1990/91, Hendry was on fire, winning a record five world-ranking titles in a single season.
Wembly Masters was among those who won the title for the third time in a row.
In the finals, he faced Mike Hallett again, who dominated the game with a 0-7 score.
If someone told you that Hendry would make a comeback, you probably wouldn’t believe it.
But Hendry made an improbable comeback, changing the score from 0-7 to 2-8, and Hallett did not win a single game.
Hendry won the game 9-8 in the end. That is a memorable comeback!
Gordon did not fare well in the World Championship event and thus failed to retain his title.
He was defeated in the quarter-finals by Steve James.
Hendry’s fifth consecutive World Championship title defense
He recovered the World Championship title the following season, 1991/92, defeating Jimmy White in the finals.
He won 10 straight sets during the match, improving the score from 8-14 to 18-14.
In addition, he won the Welsh Open, Masters, and Grand Prix in the same season.
This was his fourth Master title in a row.
Hendry also made his first competitive highest possible break in the Matchroom League.
He successfully defended his World Championship title in 1992/93, as well as his fifth consecutive Master’s title.
A year later, he successfully defended his World Championship title once more, defeating Jimmy White by one frame (18-17).
He defended his World Championship title in 1995 and 1996 before losing it the following year to Ken Doherty.
He held the World Championship title for five years in a row, longer than any other player in snooker history.
He received the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) medal during the 1994/95 season.
He also won the UK Championship, which he defended the following season.
In the 1994 UK Championship finals versus Ken Doherty, he made seven centuries, which snooker journalist David Hendon describes as “probably the finest anybody has ever played.”
Playing Style | Stephen Hendry
Hendry took a methodical approach to the game. He didn’t rush anything and wasn’t looking to get extra points.
Furthermore, he devised the general strategy that most players presently employ.
Hendry started the blue potting with a fast hit and bottom spin on the cue ball to charge into the pink.
The idea is to open up the jumbled pack of reds in order to build the game.
Prior to Hendry teaching the world how to employ this approach, players would break the jumbled reds from a pot of black, taking into account the possibility of the white coming in off after hitting the red or pink ball.
Aside from his steady break-building, he was also lauded for his long-shot precision.
While breaking, he frequently potted nalls in the mid-pocket.
He was a reliable player who played aggressively on occasion.
Rather than waiting for the open reds to be potted, Hendry frequently attempted to break the pack of reds early in the game.
In addition, even in the most competitive scenarios, he attempted difficult shots.
Over 700-century breaks were amassed by his playing technique.
As he grew older, he gradually lost his break-building and long-potting powers.
He told the press that he suffers from ‘The Yips,’ a medical disorder that causes rapid involuntary movement of the limbs and legs.
Stephen Hendry’s Ranking Positions
- Grand Prix against Dennis Taylor in 1987 (10-7).
- Mike Hallett in the 1988 British Open (13-2).
- 1989 Asian Open victory over James Wattana (9-2).
- Doug Mountjoy in the 1989 Dubai Classic (9-2).
- 1989 UK Championship vs. Steve Davis (16-12).
- Jimmy White won the World Snooker Championship in 1990. (18-12).
- Grand Prix against Nigel Bond in 1990 (10-5).
- Steve Davis vs. Dubai Classic 1990 (9-1).
- Dennis Taylor won the Asian Classic in 1990. (9-3).
- Steve Davis won the 1990 UK Championship (16-15).
- Gary Wilkinson won the British Open in 1991. (10-9).
- Grand Prix vs Steve Davis in 1991 (10-6).
- Darren Morgan won the Welsh Open in 1992. (9-3).
- Jimmy White won the 1992 World Snooker Championship (18-14).
- Against Steve Davis at the 1993 International Open (10-6).
- Jimmy White won the World Snooker Championship in 1993. (18-5).
- Steve Davis vs. Dubai Classic 1993 (9-3).
- Ronnie O’Sullivan defeated him in the European Open in 1993. (9-5).
- Jimmy White won the World Snooker Championship in 1994. (18-17).
- Ken Doherty won the UK Championship in 1994. (10-5).
- European Open, 1994, against. John Parrott (9-3).
- Nigel Bond won the World Snooker Championship in 1995. (18-9).
- Grand Prix against John Higgins in 1995 (9-5).
- Peter Ebdon won the UK Championship in 1995. (18-12).
- Defended the World Snooker Championship in 1996 against Peter Ebdon (18-12).
- John Higgins won the UK Championship in 1996. (10-9).
- Mark King won the Welsh Open in 1997. (9-2).
- 1997 International Open victory over Tony Drago (9-1). 1998 Thailand Master victory over John Parrott (9-6).
- Graeme Dott won the Scottish Open in 1999. (9-1).
- Mark Williams in the 1999 World Snooker Championship (18-11).
- The British Open in 1999, against Peter Ebdon (9-1).
- Joe Perry in the 2001 European Open (9-2).
- Mark Williams won the 2003 Welsh Open (9-5).
- Ronnie O’Sullivan defeated him in the 2003 British Open (9-6).
- Graeme Dott in the 2005 Malta Cup (9-7).
Stephen Hendry | Honors
His first big honor was the Order of the British Empire (MBE), which he received in 1993.
In addition, he was named BBC Scotland Sports Personality of the Year twice, in 1987 and 1996.
Similarly, Hendry is a six-time WPBSA Player of the Year.
From 1990 through 1996, he won the prize six times in a row.
Prior to that, he was named WPBSA Young Player of the Year in 1988.
Finally, in 1995, he was named WPBSA Performance of the Year, which was his final significant honor.
Net Worth of Stephen Hendry
Winning seven world titles certainly put a lot of money in his pocket, and he has also won several other significant ranking titles in his pro snooker career.
He has also won a number of minor league championships.
Mr. 7-time World Snooker Champion has won £8.97 million (roughly $12 million) from all tournaments in which he has competed.
Not including small and non-ranking competitions.
His net worth is expected to be $16.5 million in 2022.
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