Steve Davis: Snooker great retires after 38-year career

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport at the Crucible Theatre
Steve Davis announces retirement live on air

Snooker great Steve Davis has announced his retirement at the age of 58.

Davis began his career in 1978 and dominated the sport in the 1980s, winning six world titles and was world number one from 1983 to 1990.

He won 28 ranking titles, putting him joint second on the all-time list with Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Higgins.

His last match came on 10 April where he lost against Fergal O'Brien and failed to qualify for this year's World Championship.

After making his announcement live on the BBC, Davis was granted a lap of honour with the World Championship trophy in front of the Crucible audience - re-enacting a moment he last savoured 27 years ago.

Davis told BBC Sport: "The Fergal O'Brien match was my last and I told Barry Hearn [Davis' manager] it was time to call it a day. My father passed away recently and it was natural time to stop playing.

"I should have done it ages ago; I played a bit for my father. I am delighted to have such a great time in the game. I was lucky to have a hobby as my profession.

"It has been a fantastic. The game will move on to other places but I feel like the grandfather of the sport."

Davis in numbers:

  • Six world titles - bettered only by Stephen Hendry, who has won seven
  • 28 ranking titles - second behind Hendry (36)
  • 53 non-ranking titles, including three Masters wins
  • 1,453 professional matches
  • Nine team titles
  • World number one for seven consecutive seasons

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One of the greatest ever

Davis was a snooker pioneer who achieved unprecedented success in the sport. His first two ranking victories were at the World Championship in 1981 and 1983, while he recorded the first televised maximum 147 break in 1982.

Davis also lost in two world finals, a shock defeat by Joe Johnson in 1986 and the famous 18-17 black-ball loss to Dennis Taylor in 1985.

In 1987-88, he became the first player to win snooker's 'Triple Crown' of world, UK and Masters titles in the same season.

He was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1988 - the only snooker player to win the award - and was given an OBE in 2001.

The Welsh Open in 1995 was his last ranking title, though he did manage to reach the final of the 2005 UK Championship and produced a surprise run to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Championship at the age of 52.

Davis, nicknamed The Nugget, finished his career with a total of 355 century breaks, earned more than £5.5m in prize money and now spends his time as a music DJ.

Steve Davis: World's most unlikely DJ?

Tributes paid to 'benchmark' Davis

Dennis Taylor, 1985 world champion: "It is a sad day because he changed snooker completely when he came on the scene. He was the first player to put in six-seven hours' practice. What an ambassador he has been."

John Parrott, 1991 world champion: "I thought he was going to keep playing. He was the ultimate competitor. He went on to be six-time world champion and he was an inspiration to me growing up. He was always the benchmark, if your game was in good shape and gave him a game, you did well."

Barry Hearn, World Snooker chairman and Davis' long-time manager (on Twitter): "End of an era and a chance to say to Steve - thanks for everything mate. 40 years of pleasure and friendship. Unforgettable."

Stephen Hendry, seven-time world champion: "He was the best player I learned to be miserable from, I think I have done him proud."

Ken Doherty, 1997 world champion (on Twitter): "Wanna wish @SteveSnooker all the best in his retirement, what a legend and a great ambassador for our sport, tnx for all ur help over the years."

Neal Foulds , 1987 Crucible semi-finalist (on Twitter): "Steve Davis has officially retired. End of an era. #legend."

Michael Holt, current world number 28 (on Twitter): "He was my hero as a kid. They say never meet your hero as they can disappoint. @SteveSnooker is more a hero now than ever."

Steve Davis is interviewed by the BBC after announcing his retirement
Steve Davis was reunited with the World Championship trophy in the Crucible arena

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