Stephen Hendry: Seven-time world champion says Crucible return would be 'incredible'

'Total underdog' Hendry 'missed that buzz' of competing

Stephen Hendry says it would be "incredible" if he could achieve his goal of playing at the Crucible in a World Championship after announcing his return to professional snooker.

The seven-time world champion, 51, retired in 2012 but has accepted a two-year invitational tour card.

Last month he was beaten at the venue by Jimmy White in the World Seniors Snooker Championship semi-finals.

"If my game keeps improving I can qualify for the Crucible," he said.

Hendry's total of seven World Championship titles, won between 1990 and 1999, is unmatched in snooker's modern era.

The Scot's last professional match was at the Sheffield venue eight years ago, when he was beaten in the quarter-finals by compatriot Stephen Maguire.

"The ultimate goal is to walk out at the Crucible again (in the World Championship)," he said on an Instagram Q&A.

"That is a long way off. I will definitely enter. It would be amazing to walk down the stairs again at the main event, that would be incredible."

Hendry said his first event could be at the UK Championship, which is scheduled to be held in York from 24 November to 6 December.

"I am coming in at the bottom so will be drawn against some good players straight away," he said.

"It is going to be hard but if I get on a TV table with one of the top four or five players - I am not expecting anything - it will be a buzz.

"It will not be nice if I play terribly and lose 5-0 but that is a risk I have to take."

Hendry saw his record of 36 ranking title wins surpassed by Ronnie O'Sullivan when he won his sixth world title at the Crucible.

But he said his return has nothing to do with O'Sullivan's accomplishments, or money, adding: "I miss the atmosphere and buzz of walking out into an arena to play snooker.

"I am going to have to start practicing but not six hours a day, seven days a week like my old regime. If I do choose to play in an event I will have to put the work in and prepare the best I can.

"Snooker is all I know and I am starting to enjoy hitting the ball again and I started to score in the Seniors, which is what my game is all about. It would be fun to cause some upsets and play well on a match table."

Archive: Hendry stuns Bingham with 147

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