Stephen Hendry ‘not putting any time limit’ on comeback as he plans to play at Crucible

Stephen Hendry is hoping for another wildcard to extend his return to snooker if he doesn’t stay on tour through the rankings.

The seven-time world champion defeated Chris Wakelin 3-2 in the opening round of the British Open last week.

It was Hendry’s second victory since returning the the main tour earlier this year, and there were encouraging signs in his play even in his following round defeat to Gary Wilson in Leicester.

At the start of last season, former World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn awarded Hendry a two-year tour card which expires at the end of the current campaign.



Stephen Hendry wants to receive another wildcard and try to compete at the World Championship
Stephen Hendry wants to receive another wildcard and try to compete at the World Championship

It seemed as though the 52-year-old would simply play those two years, but his improvement since returning to regular action raised questions about staying on.

Hendry now intends to continue playing competitive snooker beyond the end of this season, and he wants to play at the Crucible in the World Championship once again.

“That’s the goal [playing at the Crucible], whether it’s this year, next year or the year after, I’m not putting any time limit on it,” Hendry told Metro.co.uk. “If it doesn’t happen this year that’s not the be all and end all, but that’s the end goal.

“I’ve always said I don’t want that defeat to [Stephen] Maguire [in 2012] to be my last match at the Crucible, but there’s a long way to go to get there.

“If my game keeps improving there’s no need to suddenly stop playing again. I’ve not said I’m going to come back, start winning tournaments and be a top player again, I just want to get back to enjoy playing snooker, playing well and see what happens.”

In order to remain on tour beyond this season, Hendry must reach the top 64 in the rankings or stay on the one-year money list.

Other options include attending Q School or earn another wildcard, and Hendry expects the latter to happen as Jimmy White continues to be granted such an opportunity.



Hendry returned to snooker in 2020 after an eight-year absence
Hendry returned to snooker in 2020 after an eight-year absence

“I would hope I’d get another wildcard,” Hendry added. “Jimmy keeps getting them, nothing against Jimmy he’s one of my best mates, but I would hope that the fact I’m competing that I would get another one.

“Barry [Hearn] did say to me that as long as I play then I’ll get one, the only reason he’d take it off me is if I didn’t play at all. So I’m playing so I’d like to think I’d get one.”

Hendry also confirmed he has not entered the Northern Ireland Open but stated he will participate in the Scottish Open, where qualifiers commence next month.

He admitted he is disappointed the event is staged in Wales rather than Scotland due to unforeseen issues with the Glasgow arena.

“I didn’t enter Northern Ireland but I’m going to enter the Scottish, but it’s going to be strange playing the Scottish Open in Llandudno,” he said. “I actually don’t even know the reason I’m not playing Northern Ireland, I just didn’t fancy it, to be fair. No special reason, I just didn’t enter it.

“My comeback was never going to be full time, it was always going to be picking and choosing the events I wanted to play in, rather than being full time.”



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