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World Championship qualifiers: Stephen Hendry keeping ‘expectations down’ on return

Stephen Hendry (left) beat Jimmy White (right) in four World Championship finals between 1990 and 1994

Stephen Hendry says he is keeping “expectations down” about his comeback and his only goal is to make the World Championship main draw.

Hendry, 52, beat White, 58, in all four of their World Championship finals in the 1990s.

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“I have tried to keep my expectations down about this comeback,” said Hendry.

“It’s not a full-time comeback and it’s not about winning eight world titles.”

Both Hendry, who retired in 2012, and White will need to win four matches at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield to qualify for the World Championship at the Crucible, which runs from 17 April to 3 May in the same city.

The event will host a limited number of fans as part of the UK government’s pilot scheme to test the return of crowds to venues.

“I am coming back to take in the experience of playing in arenas – hopefully with people in them – to enjoy the buzz of playing, and see what happens,” added Hendry.

“Qualifying for the Crucible is the goal.”

Hendry lost to Matthew Selt in the first round of the Gibraltar Open last month so is facing White in just his second match since announcing his comeback.

White has been unsuccessful in every attempt to reach the World Championship main draw since his last appearance in 2005 and will likely have to go to Q School to retain his tour card if he loses to Hendry.

“There is probably more on the match from Jimmy’s side than mine,” said Hendry.

“All of the great matches we had in finals, semi-finals, and we are playing probably our last ever match at the World Championship, who knows, and it is rock bottom, round one. It’s incredible.”

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