Hendry - I'm in it to win it
Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry still believes he has what it takes to add an eighth Crucible title to his legendary CV.
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 16/04/10 3:37pm
Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry still believes he has what it takes to add an eighth Crucible title to his legendary CV, as he prepares to step out into a venue that has become like playing in his "own front room".
Hendry knows what it takes to win the title more than anyone else in history, but success has not cooled his burning desire to win as he enters the Betfred.com World Championship on Saturday against Zhang Anda.
The 41-year-old has more happy memories at the Crucible than anyone else, and it is those same memories than keep him striving for yet another world title.
"I've obviously got great memories at the Crucible, it's a place I love to play snooker so I always get excited about coming back," Hendry told skysports.com.
"Stepping through the curtain at the Crucible is what I play snooker for, it's what I still practice for so I'm looking forward to it.
"I think even when I was winning the World Championship I always started quite slowly and got better as it went on, that's what happened last year. I scraped through the first round, played a bit better second round, a little better in the quarter-final but lost 13-11.
"It's all about staying in the tournament as long as you can and if you make it into the second week then you've got as good a chance as anybody."
Hendry, talking at the announcement of Betfred's association with Killing Cancer as their charity partner for the tournament, added that he fully believes he still has the game to win the event.
The Scotsman has been in poor form this season, but rattled his second Crucible 147 maximum last season and his special association with the venue means anything is possible.
"I come into the tournament with no form, you talk about a racehorse coming into the Grand National with form behind him, I haven't got any. But if there's one place I know how to win it's here, if I can just get into the second week then anything can happen.
"I can win it, it's in me to win it, but I can't stand here and say I will win it because I've not won a tournament for six or seven years, so there's other players who have far better cases than I have.
Experience could be a key, with the tournament far and away the longest and most gruelling played on the circuit, and with so many milestones behind him Hendry hopes that experience will count.
"I've so many good memories. The first time playing here at 16, first winning it at 21 to become the youngest world champion, then winning seven and breaking the record of Steve Davis and also the two maximums.
"It's become like playing in my front room and I keep looking for my pipe and slippers under the table when I walk in.
"I think that's why you very rarely see outsiders win it, because you need the experience of going 17 days. It's a long tournament, and as I say if I'm there towards the end of the second week then who knows what will happen."
Hendry agrees that snooker needs the big shake-up that new chief Barry Hearn has promised, but is still unsure about one or two of his proposals, although he would not say which ones.
"I just think the game got a little bit stale and we're playing the same events same venues for last five or six years. Whereas there's some events like the Crucible which are still special there's some events which have become a bit stale, so we need a fresh approach.
"I don't know yet if I'll vote for it, there's two or three things that I'm not so enthusiastic about, but most of it is good - one thing Barry does is good events and put events on that people want to watch so that should only help snooker."