Snooker legend Stephen Hendry believes that the UK Championship is “Ronnie’s to lose” following the shock elimination of Mark Selby by world number 66 Scott Donaldson. Hendry has teamed up with online betting site BetStars to discuss the UK Snooker Championships and snooker’s relationship with the Sports Personality of the Year award.
On Ronnie O’Sullivan’s chances in the tournament, Hendry said: “I think it’s O’Sullivan’s to lose, he’s the man to beat. He hasn’t been that impressive so far but he hasn’t needed to be because no one has put him under any pressure whatsoever yet.”
Discussing O’Sullivan’s main challengers, Hendry said: “The favourites are dropping like flies, one after another! The obvious one now are [Champion of Champions winner] Shaun Murphy.”
Mark Selby will be “furious” about his loss to Scott Donaldson and will be especially fired up for the Masters in the new year, according to Hendry.
“You’re obviously furious with yourself because as the world number one player these are the sort of events you should be winning. Selby didn’t look like he was 100% focused, he took it for granted and Donaldson was maybe a bit too strong, that’s the impression I got. He lost his concentration and it’s very hard to switch it back on again when the opponent is playing well and in the end Scott Donaldson played really well to win,” the Scot told BetStars. “He’ll want to bounce back quickly with the Masters after Christmas, which is one of the major events that the best players will target at the start of the season.”
Finally, Hendry had his say on the Sports Personality of the Year nominees and why O’Sullivan was ignored by the panel. Hendry himself was the runner-up in 1990, losing out to Paul Gascoigne. He said:: “I think the panel who vote for the Sports Personality contenders have a bias against snooker.
“What O’Sullivan does on the snooker table is as much, if not more, genius than any of the other contenders who are up for it this year. Nobody can say what Lewis Hamilton does in a car is any more genius than what Ronnie O’Sullivan does on the snooker table.”
Stephen Hendry was speaking on behalf of online betting site BetStars. #Callit at BetStars