Stephen Hendry lifts trophy at 1990 Embassy World Snooker Championship ()Stephen Hendry lifts trophy at 1990 Embassy World Snooker Championship () © Copyright

Stephen Hendry: BTWT

The seven-time world snooker champion won a record 36 ranking titles and is one of the greatest players ever to grace the green baize. So what can you learn from him? Find out in Been There Won That.

The first event I ever won was a ‘Star of the Future’ under-16s event at Pontins in Prestatyn. I was 14 and I won £100. I bought myself a watch for £50 and put the rest in the bank. I used to love going down to Pontins to play snooker, they had two festivals a year, which was brilliant for young snooker players.

I liked watching Jimmy White as a kid because he was a flair player. But as soon as I started getting serious about the game, the only player I looked up to was Steve Davis because of his dominance. He was winning everything and was world number one. He had what I wanted. All through my career he was my benchmark and set the records that I wanted to overtake.

When I was 18 I won my first ranking tournament, the 1987 Rothman’s Grand Prix. It was my first major snooker victory and the first time I’d beaten Steve Davis. That was a major landmark for me. I think he beat me the first 14 or 15 times I played him.

I won the World Championship at 21 years old and beat John Parrott in the semi final to become world number one. To achieve them both in one event was an incredible feeling. Being world number one after the semi-final meant I was so confident going into the final against Jimmy White that I honestly didn’t entertain the prospect of losing; I beat him 18-12.

One of my best attributes was that I was never satisfied and was greedy for success. I would win a tournament on a Sunday night and would be up practising for the next one on the Monday or Tuesday. I never really took time off after winning to enjoy it, as so many people in individual sports do. That’s what separates the best from the rest, you have to have that hunger in you and never be satisfied.

When you’re on the final black of a 147, you’re so focused that nothing else gets in. If you stopped to think about it you’d probably collapse under the pressure. There used to be huge prizes for televised 147s and it’s such a buzz to do it. I missed the pink for a possible 147 in the Benson and Hedges Masters at Wembley. It was pretty devastating and there was a £60,000 sports car on offer.

I took up poker during its boom time around 2002, after seeing Steve Davis playing it on his laptop between matches. I don’t think I’ll ever be a pro poker player but I like to pick the brains of the Pokerstars pros like Jake Cody and Liv Boeree and get better. I don’t want to just turn up and be a face at a tournament for publicity; I want to compete. And what I love about poker is that I can beat the best players in the world if I get the right cards.

Photo: PA Images


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