Hendry wants to keep snooker 'at home'

Hendry wants to keep snooker 'at home'

Stephen Hendry believes leaving the Crucible on a permanent basis should be out of the question as the Betfred.com World Championship organisers consider the future of their event.

However the seven-time world champion would welcome a system which would see up to five venues staging the event on a rotational basis.

Hendry, who began his campaign with a thrilling 10-7 victory against Mark Williams last night, does not rule out change.

However, he would be opposed to taking the World Championship to another fixed venue.

China and Dubai have expressed interest in staging the tournament, however it is likely Sheffield will secure an extension to its deal which expires after next year’s tournament.

Hendry said: “Nobody would like to leave the Crucible, but if it has to leave the Crucible I would like to see a British Open golf type of arrangement, where you have four or five venues and you alternate them so you know you’re always coming back to the Crucible.

“Like St Andrews in golf, it would be like going home to the home of snooker.

“If there were plans to move it away, I would like to see that system. I think it would work.”

Hendry strung together five frames in a row to battle back from 7-5 down.

He was rated a 50-1 outsider before the tournament began, after a poor run of results.

He turned 40 in January, but insists his tournament-winning days are not necessarily over.

Discussing those long odds, Hendry said, with a slight exaggeration: “I haven’t won a match for six months and I haven’t won a tournament for 16 years so what do you expect?”

However nobody has enjoyed more Crucible success than the Scot, and he added: “If there’s one place I know how to win it’s here.

“But I’ve only won one match so I don’t want to be getting too excited.”

Graeme Dott made it a second sweet Scottish success in the space of a couple of minutes last night when he beat Barry Hawkins 10-8.

Dott, who has battled depression and also suffered a broken wrist earlier this season, has been in danger of slipping out of the world’s top 32 but is now safe.

The 2006 world champion was impressive and believes he is close to finding his best form again.

He said: “If I play like that I can win it, but everybody else plays like that as well.”

The marathon match between Mark King and Rory McLeod spilled over into a hastily arranged third session, after Hendry and Dott had clinched their evening victories.

King eventually sealed a 10-6 victory in a match which lasted seven hours, 27 minutes and four seconds.

Last year’s runner-up Ali Carter sealed a 10-5 win over Gerard Greene, while Mark Allen led Martin Gould 7-2 overnight, and Mark Selby was 6-3 up on Ricky Walden, with those matches resuming today.

A highlight of day three was likely to be the all-Chinese clash between Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo.

With a huge Chinese media following in Sheffield, and 100million set to be watching at home, Ding and Liang will be looking to serve up an afternoon feast.

The winner of that match will face Hendry in the second round.

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