Former World Champion Peter Ebdon has retired from professional snooker due to a chronic neck injury – it has been announced this evening.
A statement on World Snooker Tour’s website says the 49-year-old has suffered from pain in his neck, back, shoulders and arms in recent months and has decided to bring an end to his playing days rather than undergo risky spinal surgery.
He famously won the world title in 2002 after beating Stephen Hendry 18-17 in one of the all-time great finals.
Aside from his world title, he won eight other ranking events including the 2006 UK Championship and the 2012 China Open. Only ten players in snooker history have won more.
Ebdon told World Championship sponsor Betfred: “I had an MRI scan about seven weeks ago which picked up significant wear and tear in my neck. There is serious deterioration in some of the vertebrae and I have been in pain since Christmas. Two of the vertebrae need to be replaced, which is not an operation I want to have because if it went wrong I could be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
“It’s far too risky. The professor explained to me that it wouldn’t be a cure. It could work, but it could make things worse and I would probably need to have it again in ten years.
“The one thing I can’t do if I don’t have the operation is play snooker again, because of the compression in my neck. So, as sad as it is for me, that’s the end. Having weighed everything up that is the decision I have come to.”
Close friend and fellow snooker star Ali Carter tonight tweeted: “Gutted that my good friend @pdebdon has been forced to retire through injury…what a man – what a player and what a career. Always the ultimate professional. I’m rooting for him in life – Good luck.”