Snooker great Stephen Hendry tonight announced his retirement after losing in the quarter-finals of the Betfred.com World Championship.
The 43-year-old won seven world titles at the Crucible and bowed out of the sport after a 13-2 defeat to fellow Scot Stephen Maguire.
Hendry said: “I am officially retired now from tournament snooker.
“I made the decision about three months ago.”
Hendry added: ``I didn't tell many people. I only told two or three people, but this is me finished from tournament snooker.
“It was quite an easy decision. There’s a few reasons. The schedule didn’t help. The fact that I’m not playing the snooker I want to play didn’t help. The fact I’m not enjoying practice doesn’t help.
“I want to do other things. I’ve got a lot of commitments now in China, which I’ve signed up for and I can’t do that and play snooker because I would never be at home.”
Hendry said: ``The time is right for me. If I'd have won the title it would have been an even better way to go out.
“I’m delighted I made a maximum here, that’s why I was more animated than normal when making it. I was delighted to do it on my last appearance here.”
Hendry beat Stuart Bingham in the first round at the World Championship this year, firing a maximum break in the process, and then knocked out reigning champion John Higgins in round two.
Retirement though was always at the back of his mind, with Hendry knowing whoever beat him would be the last man to do so.
Hendry added: “It was not a spur-of-the-moment thing. I thought about it last year but two or three months ago I just decided enough was enough.”
This was Hendry's 27th consecutive appearance at the World Championship, having lost to Willie Thorne on his debut in 1986.
He was champion of the world in 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1999, reaching further finals in 1997 and 2002.
Reflecting on his favourite Crucible memories, Hendry said: “I’ve had so many it’s hard to pinpoint special ones. My first win here, obviously the seventh world title, making maximums, I could write a book on the memories I’ve had here.”
He insisted it was not time to shed a tear.
“No, not really. I’ve never been the most emotional person even when I win.
“It’s sad that I won’t play here again. I love playing here, but no, it’s a relief as much as anything.”
Hendry added: ``I haven't got a lot of things to regret in my career.
“Obviously it’s sad that your last match is a 13-2 drubbing but that was just the way it went. At least it wasn’t 13-0.
“I haven’t been able to play the way I’ve wanted to play for the last 10 years, and it’s just ground me down and down and down.
“I keep getting beaten in first rounds and second rounds by people I still know are not as good as me. After a while it becomes too much.
“I think I’ve had a decent career.”