“It was a tough initiation back into it.”
Stephen Hendry made his return to professional snooker on Tuesday evening in the Gibraltar Open, but there was no fairytale comeback for the seven-time world champion.
Hendry lost 4-1 to Matt Selt in the first round of the tournament – his first match on the circuit since 2012. However, the Scottish player, 52, made a century break to win his only frame of the game – the 776th century of his career.
Stephen Hendry on his return to professional snooker.
Hendry said after the game that he felt nervous but that he was “quite happy” with his performance. He also said that he will have to improve if he is to have a chance of qualifying for the World Championships in April.
“I really felt the nerves when I put my suit on in the hotel room,” Hendry told Eurosport after the game.
“That’s when it really hit me, which is a good sign because without nerves you can’t perform.
“But it needs to be more nerves of excitement and expectation rather than nerves of not knowing what’s going to happen.
💥 𝐁𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚 𝐁𝐀𝐍𝐆 💥
Stephen Hendry makes his first century in nearly nine years 💯👏 pic.twitter.com/mjtfSNySW5
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) March 2, 2021
“I was generally quite happy. I didn’t miss anything easy. Matt played fantastic.”
“My game isn’t good enough yet to qualify for the World Championship,” Hendry continued.
“I think there is work to be done. I’ve got about a month of practice to get it better.
“My safety has to be tighter and my long game has to be better. It’s not ready yet to qualify for the Crucible.”
A 776th career century for Stephen Hendry.
Victory for Matthew Selt.
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) March 2, 2021
Before Tuesday’s match, Hendry’s last professional game was against Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals of the World Championships back in 2012.
Hendry has won seven world titles, with the last coming in 1999.