On the red: Snooker champ Stephen Hendry drinks wine before match
One of snooker’s all-time greatest champions, Stephen Hendry, has admitted to drinking a glass of wine before playing a match.
Hendry, who has won the World Championship seven times, came out of retirement in 2020, but has been unable to replicate his blistering form, which saw him dominate snooker in the 1990s.
Now, despite some great shots and showing the world-class quality that won him so many titles, he hasn’t won a match in two years.
While fellow seven-times World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is likely to go for a 5k run before a game, Hendry takes a different approach to middle-age match play.
Hendry told The Scottish Sun: “The old system was picking up my cue ten minutes before a match, but the new system might be having a glass of wine.
“But that’s a dangerous road to go down. That’s a last resort.”
“My relationship with snooker used to be love-hate, now it’s love-hate-hate. Snooker is my life and it always has been.
“I still think, at one point, in one of these matches, I will give someone a beating. It does bother me losing to players I should beat. It’s something I’m battling with.”
Hendry’s comments come as snooker has moved away from its highly boozy reputation in previous decades. Recent champions are more likely to go to the gym before a tournament than have a gin, but that wasn’t always the case.
In it’s 1980s heyday, players would often sink pints and smoke during tournaments, including finals.
In one epic friendly match, Canadian Bill Werbeniuk played Eddie Sinclair in a test of alcoholic endurance, which saw an incredible 85 pints consumed by the pair. Speaking about that game, Hendry told The Guardian in 2001, that Webeniuk won “43 to 42”.
He said: “That was the match of the century. (It) went on all day, the drinking, finished when Sinclair was on his back, unconscious. At that point Werbeniuk gives it: ‘I’m away to the bar for a proper drink.’”