7 Apr 2021

Hendry urges White not to hang up cue

11:05 am on 7 April 2021

Stephen Hendry has urged old rival Jimmy White not to retire despite leaving him on the brink of losing his place on the professional snooker tour.

Hendry, playing his second match since coming out of retirement, beat White 6-3 in the first qualifying round for the World Championships.

It means White, 58, will likely drop off the tour and have to re-qualify or gain a wildcard to remain next season.

"Jimmy should keep playing," Hendry, 52, said.

"He loves the game so much."

"When I retired, I faced the fact I couldn't play. If he can somehow take the pressure off himself and not look at results, not think he can win tournaments, then just go out there and play."

White, a Masters and UK champion, is one of snooker's most successful players and has been a professional since 1980.

Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.

The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Photo: Photosport

However, he required a two-year invitational tour card to remain on tour in 2017 and 2019 and will need another if results go against him in the further rounds of World Championship qualifying.

The other option would be to compete at Q School - the qualification tournaments at which amateurs can gain a place on the professional tour.

White said he had yet to make a decision about his future after his defeat to Hendry - a performance he called "horrendous".

Hendry, who last appeared at the World Championships in 2012 and lost his comeback match at the Gibraltar Open earlier this month, played down his chances of reaching the Crucible this year.

He must beat China's world number 84 Xu Si and win a further two rounds to qualify.

"On this evidence, my game isn't ready," said Hendry.

"I think next year I would be more realistic about my chances.

"In the next round I could play a lot better but I don't think my game is ready to win four tough matches to get to the Crucible yet.

"Hopefully if I can keep getting better and keep improving, my technique becomes reliable and I can get to a better pace, then next year will be the goal to get back to the Crucible.

"I will try to keep expectations low, [but] the animal that I am, if I start to get form, then the expectations will rise. At the moment it is about trying to get back to playing some good snooker."