World Snooker: Stephen Hendry to continue playing
WORLD SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP
- Crucible Theatre
- 16 April-2 May
- Live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC One HD, Red Button and BBC Sport website (UK only); updates and reports on Radio 5 live; catch up with BBC iPlayer
Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry has ended speculation about his future by confirming to the BBC he intends to play on next season.
The Scot, 42, had hinted at retirement after losing 13-4 to Mark Selby in the second round of the World Championship.
But speaking at the Crucible where he is commentating on the semi-finals, he said: "I still love playing the game. I want the chance to come back here.
"I'm going to play all the tournaments. There's no point being half-hearted."
Hendry is the most successful snooker player of all time and became the youngest world champion at the age of 21.
He has pocketed £8.8m in prize money, won 36 ranking titles, held the number one spot for eight years and has made 10 professional maximum breaks.
However, he has not won a ranking event in six years and, with his form becoming increasingly erratic, said he would make a decision about his future at the end of the season.
That decision was expected to result in him retiring, but the Scot has now decided to stay in the game after Stuart Bingham's defeat by Ding Junhui in the second round ensured his place in the top 16 in the world rankings.
Crucially, that means Hendry will not have to qualify for the early events of next season.
The 42-year-old, who won his last world title in 1999, believes more intensive practice sessions can help him regain his self-belief.
"I don't put in the same amout of time as I did in the 1990s when I was dominating," he said. "Your life is different when you have a family and it can be pretty boring practising the same shot for six hours a day.
"I am going to start having more competitive practice sessions with other players rather than playing on my own. I feel that could help me compete more in matches.
"I still feel I have something to give. I have got the game but I need the belief and hopefully I can get that back by practising more with other players, but certainly staying in the top 16 was a big incentive in my decision."
Current and former players urged Hendry to stay in the game.
Three-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan paid tribute to Hendry on Twitter, writing: "Hendry is the greatest snooker player of all time.. No doubt.. Trust me I have played them all!!!!," he said.