Snooker: Hendry's threat to retire

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The Independent Online
STEPHEN HENDRY, the six-time world champion, revealed yesterday that he is on the brink of quitting the game.

After being knocked out of the German Masters in Vingen, Hendry said: "If I carry on like this I'm seriously thinking of chucking it in at the end of the season."

Hendry was a picture of dejection after slumping to a 5-2 defeat against Malta's Tony Drago in the quarter-finals of the invitation event. "It is just down to confidence. When I haven't got any I hate playing the game," said Hendry, who was whitewashed 9-0 by Scotland's unheralded Marcus Campbell in the UK Championship three weeks ago.

"The last thing I want to do is take anything away from Tony. He played really well and deserved to win but my form just gets worse and worse."

Hendry, who travels to the Irish Open in Dublin next week, added: "I'll still keep practising, trying to solve the problem and I'll prepare properly for events, but I feel terrible about my game at the moment."

It looked like Hendry had turned the corner after edging Ken Doherty 7-6 in the final of the Rothmans Malta Grand Prix on Sunday to capture the 67th title of his pro-career. But the unforced errors which have haunted Hendry all year resurfaced as Drago raced to victory in 76 minutes.

Drago, defeated in all of his previous 12 encounters with the sport's dominant force of the 90s, put together a pair of 56 breaks on the way to quickly building a 2-0 lead. Hendry constructed a run of 70 to claim the third, but a 68 break earned Drago a 3-1 advantage before Hendry once again threatened to mount a recovery.

Drago re-established a two frame cushion at 4-2 by comfortably taking the sixth and led 63-0 in the seventh when he missed a simple pink. On numerous occasions in the past, Hendry has pounced in such a situation but this time he failed to take his chance.