Is Stephen Hendry the Greatest Snooker Ever? Bio & Ranking

This article was last updated by on

Stephen Gordon Hendry is the most successful snooker player and the greatest player in the sport’s history; no snooker fan would disagree with this statement.

The Golden Boy was the no.1 ranked player from 1990 to 1997 and yet again, later in 2006. Hendry holds the record for the most seasons as the no.1 player; he was ranked no.1 for nine seasons.

After winning his first World Championship in 1990, he became the youngest player ever to lift the title at 21.

Fast forward to the 2012 World Championship, which he lost to Stephen Maguire, after which he announced his retirement. A 31-year long legendary career came to an end that year.

Stephen Hendry with his ex-wife Mandy and his son
Stephen Hendry with his ex-wife Mandy and his son (Facebook)

But in September of 2020, he announced that he would be back for an invitational game at the World Snooker Tour for two seasons. After a delayed start, he played his first-ever match in 9 years in the Gibraltar Open in March of 2021.

But what’s the story behind his success? Did he retire of old age or health conditions? Spoiler alert: it’s a health condition.

Let’s look beneath his legendary status to see what his innocent self looks like, the character not many know of.

Stephen Hendry | Quick Facts

Full Name Stephen Gordon Hendry
Birth Date 13th January 1969
Birth Place South Queensferry, West Lothian, Scotland
Current Residence Auchterarder, Tayside, Scotland
Nick Name The Great One, The Wonder, The Golden Boy, The King of Crucible, and The Maestro
Religion Christianity
Nationality Scottish
Famous for being Snooker player
Ethnicity Caucasian
  • Inverkeithing High School
  • Queensferry High School
Horoscope Capricon
Father’s Name Gordon Hendry
Mother’s Name Irene Hendry
Siblings A brother
Age 55 years old
Height 6 feet 1 inch
Weight N/A
Hair Color Grey
Eye Color Blue
Build Plus-size
Hobbies Playing golf and poker
Favorite Destination N/A
Profession Pro snooker player
Marital Status Unmarried but not single
Kids Two sons (Blaine and Carter)
Net Worth $16,500,000
Merch  Clothing Merch, Me and the Table (Book)
Last Updated May, 2024

Stephen Hendry | Early Days

On the 13th of January, 1969, Stephen Hendry was born to his parents Gordon and Irene Hendry.

Born and partially raised in Auchterarder, Tayside, Scotland, his family later moved to Dalgety Bay, presented in a 1970s style Bungalow. 

“It was a move up for us; our last house was smaller. Four of us lived there: my mom, dad, brother, and me,” he further added.

Out of the total six rooms of the house, he didn’t have a favorite room; which room had a TV would be his hangout room.

“Invariably, I would be watching snooker and my hero, Jimmy White,” said Hendry.

He mostly played football outside with his friends until the Christmas of 1982 when he was bought a small snooker table. He was 13 at the time, and snooker completely dominated his free time.

Hendry got obsessed with the game and later traveled to a club in Dunfermline to play on a full-size snooker table.

Unfortunately, things got messy; when Hendry was 15, his parents got divorced, and he had to move to a council home in the village of Kirkliston and his brother.

Luckily, it was snooker that made him go through that time.

You might want to read about the top 12 pool players in the history of pool >>

Stephen Hendry | Wife and Kids

Hendry’s first love

Stephen Hendry was married to his teenage love, Mandy Tart, for almost two decades before separating in 2014.

Hendry met Mandy for the first time at a Pontins holiday camp at the age of 16. He instantly took a liking to Mandy and vice versa.

Mandy was by his side through his amateur career, before making it to the ranking events, and until the end of his professional snooker career. Now that’s a level of loyalty not often found.

The divorce and new love

In 2014, Stephen Hendry left his wife of 19 years for someone new. It was not a mutual divorce; Hendry left his wife for a newfound love.

Everyone respects him for his legendary career, but that was not a move that suits a person of his level.

Apparently, he fell in love with Lauren Thunder, then a 26-year-old actress and children’s entertainer.

Hendry opened up about how he fell for Lauren while he was still married to Mandy. He stated that he met Lauren after a Legends snooker exhibition when she was selling merch.

“She’s attractive, and we smile at each other, but I think nothing of it. Gradually, we start to say ‘Hi’ and share a bit of small talk,” wrote in his autobiography Stephen Hendry Me and the Table.

Stephen Hendry with his new partner Lauren Thunder
Stephen Hendry with his new partner Lauren Thunder (Facebook)

He also stated that he is not one to go striding over any woman who caught his attention. 

As time went on, the lovebirds became good friends; the Legends event traveled with the same support staff; thus, Lauren and Hendry had plenty of time to get to know each other.

“After a while, we realize we’re falling in love. That’s very unsettling. I’m married to a woman I’ve been with for almost 30 years,” wrote Hendry.

You might want to read about Heidi Stroble, Cole Hamels’ wife >>


Hendry has two sons with Mandy. The oldest son, Blaine Hendry, was born in 1996, and the second son, Carter Hendry, was born eight years later in 2004.

None of the two sons have followed their father’s path; there is not much info about the two.

Stephen Hendry | Career

Amateur Career

At 12, he was given a child-sized snooker table by his father as a Christmas gift. That investment proved worth a lot as Stephen won the Scottish U-16 Championship when he was 14.

Moreover, the following year he entered the World Amateur Championship, making him the youngest contestant ever, where he also won the Scottish Amateur Championship.

It’s like he had all the natural talents to be successful snooker, He just had two years of playing snooker, and he won a national title.

The following year, in 1985, he defended his Scottish Amateur Championship title and turned pro. He was only 16 years and three months old at the time, which made him the youngest player ever to turn professional.

Hendry had already made a name for himself in his country. All that was left was to dominate the international competitions.

Professional Career

Hendry started his professional career by playing in the Mercantile Credit Classic; he reached the last 32 before losing. But, still impressive for a 16-year-old.

The No. 1 became the youngest player ever to qualify for the World Championship; he held the record until Luca Brecel overtook it in 2012.

Unfortunately, he did not last long in the World Championship as he lost to Willie Throne.

In 1987, Hendry successfully defended his Scottish Professional Championship title against Jim Donnelly. The same year, he reached the quarterfinals of the World Championship and Grand Prix.

In the quarterfinals of the World Championship, Hendry was performing toe-to-toe with Joe Johnson, but he made a mistake and failed to pot a red ball. That singular miss cost him the entire game. Johnson won the frame and also the game (13-12).

Stephen Hendry enjoying a cigar
Stephen Hendry enjoying a cigar (Facebook)

As for the Grand Prix, Hendry won the finals against Dennis Taylor, bagging in his first ranking title.

The following year, in 1988, he went on to win his second-ranking title. He won the British Open, facing Mike Hallett in the finals (13-2).

Moreover, he also won the World Doubles Championship paired with Mike Hallett; he defended the title next season and his Scottish Professional Championship title. He also won the Australian Masters in the same year.

Hendry was ranked in the top 4 on the world leader board for his outstanding performance that season. He was also voted the BBC Scotland Sports Personality of the Year.

Unfortunately, he did not lift any ranking titles the following season but he won a couple of minor titles. Hendry won the 1989 New Zealand Masters and the Masters at Wembly.

Top 1 Ranking and World Championship

Stephen Hendry’s dominant gameplay began in the 1989/90 season. He won a total of 6 titles that year.

He won his first World Championship title, facing off Jimmy White in the finals that season. This achievement placed him at the top of the leader board, he was the no.1 snooker player at the age of 21.

Along with a World Championship title, he also won the Dubai Classic, UK Championship, Asian Classic, Wembly Masters, and Scottish Masters.

The next season, the 1990/91 season, Hendry was on fire, he made a record of whole five world ranking titles in a single season. Among which Wembly Masters was also one, this marked his third consecutive win of the title.

Once again, he faced Mike Hallett in the finals, Hallett dominated the game with a 0-7 score, if someone told you that Hendry would make a comeback, you would probably not believe it.

But Hendry made an impossible comeback, the score went from 0-7 to 2-8 after which Hallett did not get to win a single frame. The final score was 9-8 in favor of Hendry. Now that is a comeback to remember!

Unfortunately, Gordon did not perform that well in the World Championship tournament, failing to retain his title. He lost in the quarter-finals to Steve James.

Hendry’s fifth consecutive retaining of the World Championship title

The following season, the 1991/92 season, he regained the World Championship title, defeating Jimmy White in the finals. During the match, he won 10 consecutive frames changing the score from 8-14 to 18-14. What is he? A comeback king?

Moreover, he also won the Welsh Open, Masters, and the Grand Prix in the same season. This marked his fourth Master in a row.

Also, Hendry made his first competitive highest possible break, playing in the Matchroom League.

In the 1992/93 season, he successfully defended his World Championship title added with his fifth consecutive Master’s title. A year later, he defended his World Championship title yet again, defeating Jimmy White by a single frame (18-17).

In 1995 and 1996, he retained his World Championship title. before losing the tile next year to Ken Doherty. He held the World Championship title for five consecutive years, longer than any other player in the history of snooker.

Back in the 1994/95 season, he was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) award. Furthermore, he also won the UK Championship which he retained the following season.

In the 1994 UK Championship finals against ken Doherty, he made 7 centuries which is considered as “possibly the best anybody has ever played” according to snooker journalist David Hendon.

Stephen Hendry | Playing Style

Hendry had a steady approach to the game. he did not rush things and was not in a hurry to score more points. Moreover, he invented the universal tactic that most players use now.

Hendry introduced the potting of the blue with a pace hit and bottom spin on the cue ball to charge into the pink. The idea behind this is to open up the jumbled pack of reds to develop the game.

Before Hendry taught the world how to use this technique, players used to break the jumbled reds from a pot of black, considering the probable danger of the white going in off after hitting the red or the pink ball.

Stephen Hendry playing golf
Stephen Hendry playing golf (Instagram)

Besides his consistent break-building, he was also praised heavily for his long-shot accuracy. He also often potted nalls in the mid-pocket while breaking.

Though he was a steady player, he often played aggressively. Hendry often tried to break the pack of reds early in the game rather than waiting for the open reds to be potted.

In addition to that, he also attempted difficult shots even in the most competitive situations. His playing style amassed over 700-century breaks.

As old age dawned upon him, he slowly lost his abilities of break-building and long potting. He stated to the media that he has ‘The Yips’, a medical condition that causes sudden involuntary movement of arms and legs.

Stephen Hendry Ranking Titles

  • 1987 Grand Prix against Dennis Taylor (10-7).
  • 1988 British Open facing Mike Hallett (13-2).
  • 1989 Asian Open against James Wattana (9-2).
  • 1989 Dubai Classic against Doug Mountjoy (9-2).
  • UK Championship 1989 against Steve Davis (16-12).
  • 1990 World Snooker Championship against Jimmy White (18-12).
  • 1990 Grand Prix against Nigel Bond (10-5).
  • Dubai Classic 1990 against Steve Davis (9-1).
  • 1990 Asian Classic against Dennis Taylor (9-3).
  • 1990 UK Championship against Steve Davis (16-15).
  • 1991 British Open against Gary Wilkinson (10-9).
  • 1991 Grand Prix against Steve Davis (10-6).
  • 1992 Welsh Open against Darren Morgan (9-3).
  • 1992 World Snooker Championship against Jimmy White (18-14).
  • 1993 International Open against Steve Davis (10-6).
  • 1993 World Snooker Championship against Jimmy White (18-5).
  • Dubai Classic 1993 against Steve Davis (9-3).
  • 1993 Europen Open against Ronnie O’Sullivan (9-5).
  • 1994 World Snooker Championship against Jimmy White (18-17).
  • 1994 UK Championship against Ken Doherty (10-5).
  • European Open 1994 against John Parrott (9-3).
  • 1995 World Snooker Championship against Nigel Bond (18-9).
  • 1995 Grand Prix against John Higgins (9-5).
  • UK Championship 1995 against Peter Ebdon (18-12).
  • 1996 World Snooker Championship against Peter Ebdon (18-12).
  • 1996 UK Championship against John Higgins (10-9).
  • 1997 Welsh Open against Mark King (9-2).
  • 1997 International Open against Tony Drago (9-1).
  • 1998 Thailand Master against John Parrott (9-6).
  • 1999 Scottish Open against Graeme Dott (9-1).
  • 1999 World Snooker Championship against Mark Williams (18-11).
  • The 1999 British Open against Peter Ebdon (9-1).
  • 2001 European Open against Joe Perry (9-2).
  • 2003 Welsh Open against Mark Williams (9-5).
  • 2003 British Open against Ronnie O’Sullivan (9-6).
  • 2005 Malta Cup against Graeme Dott (9-7).

Stephen Hendry | Awards

His very first major award is the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), which he received in 1993.

Moreover, he was the BBC Scotland Sports Personality of the Year for two years, in 1987 and in 1996.

Likewise, Hendry is a 6 time WPBSA Player of the Year. He took home the award six consecutive times from 1990 to 1996.

Prior to that, he was also the 1988 WPBSA Young Player of the Year. Lastly, he received the WPBSA Performance of the Year in the year 1995, which marks his last major award.

Stephen Hendry | Net Worth

Surely, winning 7 world titles filled his pocket with a whole lot of money, besides that he has won several other major ranking titles in his pro snooker career. In addition to that, he has also won numerous minor league titles.

Mr. 7 times World Snooker Champion has won £8.97 million (approximately 12 million dollars) from all the tournaments he participated in. Not accounting for the minor and non-ranking tournaments.

As of 2024 his net worth is estimated to be 16.5 million dollars.

You might also want to read about Greg Anthony, his family, and how he cheated on his wife >>

Social Media Links

Instagram: 113k followers

Twitter: 95.4k followers


Who is the greatest snooker player of all time?

Stephen Hendry along with Ronnie O’Sullivan is regarded as the greatest snooker player of all time.

Stephen has also commented on Ronnie, admitting that Ronnie is the toughest opponent he has ever faced but he also said that he would claim the victory if they both played at their peak.

How many championships did Stephen Hendry win?

Gordon has won the World Snooker Championship 7 times. He retained the title from 1992 to 1996. The player holds the record for the most World Championship but that might change soon as Ronnie is set on beating his record. Steph is a legendary player but Ronnie is the future, the modern-day snooker king.

Who has made the most 147 breaks in snooker?

Ronnie O’Sullivan made 15 174-breaks, making him the player with the most 147s. Meanwhile has made Stephen Hendry has made 11.

What is Stephen Hendry’s current ranking?

Stephen Hendry currently ranks at 95th on the world leader board. Even after retiring from professional snooker in 2012, he still makes it to the top 100 snooker players in the world currently. That deserves nothing but respect.

How many titles does Stephen Hendry have?

Stephen has a total of 36 ranking titles along with 39 non-ranking titles. Moreover, he has also won numerous awards throughout his career for his unmatched performances.

Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share article

Latest News