Snooker great Stephen Hendry has announced his retirement after losing in the quarter-finals of the World Championship on Tuesday.
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."
Maguire finished off Hendry with a session to spare, and was not among the few people who knew his opponent's retirement was imminent.
"I'm shocked. I totally wasn't expecting that there," Maguire said.
"I don't know why (he is retiring). I'm speechless. He's left a great legacy.
"He's the best player to ever pick up a cue in my eyes.
"It's going to take someone to win a lot of tournaments to equal him."
Elsewhere on day one of the quarter-finals at the Crucible, Ronnie O'Sullivan trailed Neil Robertson 5-3 after their opening session, while Ali Carter was ahead by the same mark against Welsh qualifier Jamie Jones.
Two-time runner-up Matthew Stevens won nine frames in a row to pull 11-5 ahead of fellow Welshman Ryan Day in a remarkable quarter-final turnaround.
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what do you think?
Thanks for the memories, Stephen. I've been watching snooker since 'Pot Black'; when John Spencer, Alex Higgins, Ray Reardon, Eddie Charlton, Perrie Mans, Old Fred Davis, Rex Williams, John Pullman and the like were kings. Great days! Scotland were forever getting duffed-up by the rest of the world back then - until you came along. In-fact, I well-remember Ray Reardon's quote during those times that Scotland 'would never have a world champion' - poor judgement and very ill-mannered, frankly - how very wrong he was. And, it must have stuck in old Ray's craw that the 'Wonderbairn' managed to get one more than him. Do you know what matters at the end of the day? Titles. Great career and a great sportsman. Cheers, mate.
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Stephen Hendry Snooker LTD was liquidated by HMRC last August,you would have thought for the £85.000 oweing he would have paid rather than have a name as a bad debtor so close to the end of his playing days
A true gent, Have a long and happy retirement. Thanks for all the hours of perfect match play snooker.
Snooker will not be the same without Steven he has given the game more than any other previous player, not technically the best but always prepared to give it a go. Did Steven think about not taking up a place in this years qualifying event?
One of the best if not the best sportsman Scotland has ever had. As for Mr Jordans comment suggesting he wasn't the best technically - what? You only have to look at the mans record to see that's exactly what he was - Technically THE best!
A great talent for the game will be missed but not his lack of personality, which sportsmen should have!!!!
Thank you Mr Hendry for all the enjoyment you have given us snooker fans over so many years. You have been an inspiration to many and will be missed of that I am sure. Wishing you all the best in whatever you now choose to do. Cheers!