STEPHEN Hendry is hoping victory over his old foe Jimmy White will inspire his Betfred.com World Championship qualifying challenge.
Seven-time world champion Hendry must qualify for snooker’s biggest tournament for the first time in his illustrious 27-year career.
And for a welcome warm-up the all-conquering Scot and the ‘Whirlwind’ will clash in the new Snooker Legends Cup, which starts tonight at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.
Two days later Hendry must win one best-of-19 frame qualifying match at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield to guarantee his place at this year’s £1,100,000 event, which runs 21 April - 7 May. “Jimmy was a very important part of my Crucible journey, having beaten him in four finals,” revealed Hendry, who holds the record for the longest unbroken run of 26 successive seasons at the Crucbile.
“We dominated it for years, and had some fantastic battles – for four or five years for me, it was all about beating the Whirlwind.
“And for him to have fallen at the final hurdle so often must have been very painful.
“I can’t wait to play him there on Friday, and we’ll probably never have that chance again in that arena on one table. He was the ‘People’s Champion’ the one everyone wanted to win, but I wouldn’t swap any of my world titles for a bigger cheer.
“In contrast, I suspect deep down that he probably would have traded some popularity to get his hands on the trophy just once. He won a lot of matches in Sheffield over the years, but that probably isn’t much consolation.”
White admitted recently that if could have one shot again in his career, it would be the ‘twitched’ black against Hendry at 17-17 in the decider in the epic 1994 final.