STEPHEN Hendry has spelled out to tour professionals young and old the dedication and sacrifices required to get the most out of their ability.

The seven-time world champion would willingly plead guilty to a focus bordering on obsession during his trophy-laden career – an approach that clearly paid dividends.

There will almost certainly have been times when Hendry would have liked to be a bit more sociable and less aloof but in his pomp – a little like Steve Davis – that was what he felt was needed. It clearly worked for them, also offering the chance to ease up in later life.

And some interesting recent comments from the Scot singled out players he feel are leaving no stone unturned in their quest for self-improvement – and those that might not be.

With the inaugural Lisbon Open taking place this week in Portugal, Hendry is of the view from stories working their way back to him that some players have a cavalier attitude to European Tour events abroad.

Some of his views appeared on Monday morning, in one newspaper that did not quite manage to squeeze the UK final finish into its first edition.

But they are worth a broader audience and are shown in full here – again stressing that Ronnie O’Sullivan’s success is by no means solely down to natural talent, but being prepared to see anyone and try anything to unlock his true potential.

Hendry said: “To other players out there frustrated with their form or careers, I would just say look at Ronnie compared to where he was a few years ago – or Stuart Bingham.

“Stuart has worked very closely with Steve Feeney and SightRight, and sometimes you just need one thing to trigger it for you or kickstart things.

“Just something, anything, whatever it is that does it for you as a player or gives you some extra belief.

“And when you consider the likes of Stephen Maguire perhaps they just need that something, whether it is talking to someone, anything that can give him an extra edge.

“Perhaps in Stephen’s case he is more the man’s man type and dealing with sports psychologists and sports psychiatrists or whatever might be seen as wimping out, he tries to do it all himself.

“But if it is good enough for some of the other top sports people in the world, and we can all name them in other sports, then it must be good enough for him.

“But some of these players need to look at what they are doing in the game. I am not on tour any more but I hear things.

“And there are stories that some players are not as dedicated as they should be, and treating some of these PTCs in Europe as stag weekends rather than tournaments.

“Every player has to look at themselves and what they are doing.”


Photograph by Monique Limbos