Stephen Hendry says he has work to do to improve his game after making his much anticipated comeback to professional snooker.
The Scot played his first match on the pro-tour since announcing his plans to come out of retirement last year in last week’s Gibraltar Open.
The seven-times world champion – snooker’s greatest world champion in recent history – succumbed to a 4-1 defeat to close friend Matthew Selt in the first round.
However, Hendry did show that his game is still in decent shape by making one his trademark century breaks in the second frame.
But a few loose safety shots here and there were duly punished by Selt and the 4-1 scoreline was a quick reality check – if indeed he needed one – for the 52-year-old who knows he will have to cut out similar mistakes if he to play at the Crucible again.
Hendry will next be in action in the World Championship Qualifiers as he bids to return to the snooker’s famous home venue where he is known as ‘The King’.
But instead of polishing his crown, Hendry knows he will need to polish his defensive game if he is to achieve anything in this fairytale comeback.
“The century break was obviously the highlight,” Hendry said in his post match press conference.
“There are things to work on, long potting wasn’t there and a couple of my safeties were a bit loose.
“I am happy that when I had a chance I scored. That is what snooker is all about these days, scoring when you get the chance. Right now my game isn’t ready to qualify for the Crucible, but a month ago I wouldn’t have even competed in this match. It is steadily improving.”
On Instagram over the weekend, Hendry revealed another ambition of his is to get up to 800 centuries.
His comeback century was the 776th of his career. Despite not playing for nine years, Hendry is still in the top four of century makers – only Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and world number one Judd Trump have more.
Hendry told his live followers: “One of the goals in this comeback is to try to make 800 centuries. I mean 888 would be amazing because that’s a very lucky number in China and I love China so that would be incredible.
“800 is a realistic target I think. The other aim is to get to the Crucible.”