Stephen Hendry ‘not entering’ World Snooker Championship qualifying | Football

Stephen Hendry does not intend to bid for World Championship qualification this year (Picture: Getty Images)

Stephen Hendry says he will not be playing in World Snooker Championship qualifying this season, meaning he will end the campaign winless on the professional circuit.

The seven-time world champion returned to the main tour in the 2020/21 season, accepting a two-year tour card, which was given again at the start of the 2022/23 campaign.

There were some notable wins in the first two years of the return, beating Jimmy White in qualifying for the 2021 World Championship, then picking up victories over the likes of Michael White and Chris Wakelin the following season.

However, the two most recent campaigns have been fruitless, with no wins from four matches last season and none from five outings in the current campaign.

It looks like there will be no more matches this season for the 55-year-old, after he posted a comment on Fergal O’Brien’s Instagram ahead of World Championship qualifying.

‘Play well Fergal, lucky for u I’m not entering 🤣🤣,’ Hendry wrote on social media.

As announced earlier this month by the WPBSA: ‘Any current professional players who do not enter the tournament will be replaced from the 2023 Q School Order of Merit.’

Hendry’s current two-year invitational tour card will come to an end when this season is over and it is yet to be seen whether he will be offered another one or choose to accept it if he is.

The King of the Crucible has become one of the most prolific voices in the sport, with his hugely successful Cue Tips YouTube channel, WST’s Snooker Club podcast and his commentary and punditry duties for the BBC and ITV.

His focus is certainly more on his media commitments than playing these days, hosting a live edition of Snooker Club at The Crucible on 19 April, the day before the World Championship gets underway at the iconic venue.

Speaking earlier this season on Snooker Club, Hendry admitted that his return to competition may be coming to an end, finding his level of performance at times ’embarrassing’.

‘There has to be a time when I can’t put up with not being able to make a 30 break. It is embarrassing,’ he said in September.

Cazoo Masters - Day Eight

Hendry will be busy with media duties during the World Championship (Picture: Getty Images)

‘My relationship with snooker now is… well if it was love-hate before, it is now love-hate-hate. It has never been ‘a comeback’ to try and win things. It has always been to get a wildcard, play some matches and see what happens.

‘The problem is I don’t practice, and how can you expect to go and do anything if you don’t prepare for it? I am basically on the golf course eight days a week.

‘I am torn between… I mean I lost in the qualifiers recently 4-0 to Fergal O’Brien and I probably played about 0.02 per cent of the way I could play. Fergal didn’t play great, he’s at the end of his career… if I had got to two per cent, I would have beaten him. There is a problem, I couldn’t even get to two per cent.’

He added: ‘I saw a comment on WST Instagram, I lost to a guy called Mohammed Asif. Someone posted “Why is Stephen doing this to himself?” And I thought “Why am I doing it to myself?” It might not last forever, let’s see how it goes.’

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