Stephen Hendry tells Mark Allen what he must do to win World Snooker Championship

Mark Allen will go to the Crucible as one of the favourites this year (Picture: Getty Images)

Stephen Hendry has backed Mark Allen as a threat to win the World Snooker Championship this year, but says he will struggle to grind his way to the title.

The Pistol won the Players Championship on Sunday evening, battling his way to a hard-fought 10-8 win over Zhang Anda thanks largely to a brilliant display of safety.

The world number three could not find his scoring game, making just one century and one half-century over the 18 frames, but scrapped to the title and the £125,000 top prize.

It was the sixth title the 38-year-old has won since the start of last season and Hendry feels his winning mentality and ability to compete when not scoring heavily make him dangerous in Sheffield this year.

‘The last two years he’s won five or six events, he’s become a serial winner,’ Hendry said on WST’s Snooker Club podcast. ‘Very, very difficult to beat.

‘His safety play was astonishing, it really was. When he wasn’t scoring like he was in the first round, that was the bedrock of his game, he had that to fall back on. It really was incredible.

Mark Allen

Allen lifted his third title of the season at the Players Championship (Picture: WST)

‘You’ve got to think of him as one of the possibles to win the World Championship in April because he’s got that all-round game, he doesn’t rely on just scoring, he can win any way he wants. He’s so tough to beat so he’s definitely going to be a threat in Sheffield.

‘That’s the next step for him, to win the World Championship. He’s winning on a regular basis, the other tournaments, it’s about racking up those Triple Crowns now.’

Hendry did have a word of warning for the Northern Irishman, though, saying that a steady, grinding style of play can be very draining on a player over the lengthy tournament at the Crucible.

Cazoo World Snooker Championship 2023 - Day Fourteen

Allen lost an epic to Mark Selby in last year’s World Championship semi-final (Picture: Getty Images)

Of course, Allen would prefer to be knocking in huge breaks every frame and it is not as easy as just deciding to do that, but the Pistol may need to find some more fluency to land his first world title this year.

‘What I would say is playing that type of snooker, 30 seconds a shot, for 17 days would take it out of you,’ said the seven-time world champion. ‘He would rather win matches like the match against [Mark] Williams [in round one], he was incredible in terms of scoring.

‘At the Crucible you don’t want to be expending lots of energy, long 40-minute frames all the time, being up till midnight all the time playing, you want to be finishing matches off quicker.

‘He’s got to find a mix, it’s ok being able to go back to this game if he needs it but he’s got to find a mix that works better for Sheffield.’


MORE : Tom Ford speaks out on his lowest point and how talking to someone saved him


MORE : Dogged Mark Allen battles to another title and warns rivals what will happen when he finds form

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on
Facebook, 
Twitter and Instagram.

Snooker