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Stephen Hendry explains decision to withdraw from WST Pro Series

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Stephen Hendry has clarified his decision to pull out of the WST Pro Series in Milton Keynes this month.

Hendry had been included in the draw for the all-new ranking event at the Marshall Arena, but withdrew from the field last week.

The WST Pro Series is spit across January and March in a round-robin format, with the overall winner earning a place in this year’s Champion of Champions.

Hendry, who made a stunning U-turn to come out of retirement last September, revealed he would have competed in the WST Pro Series had he been scheduled to play in the March edition.

The seven-time World Champion told BBC Sport: “I spoke to someone from World Snooker a couple of weeks ago and said “do I have to enter now if I want to play in March?”

“He said: “yes you have to enter now but you can request to play in the second phase and we’ll see what we can do.”

“I did say if I’m drawn to play in January then I’ll pull out because I just haven’t played, I’m not ready and I’d just embarrass myself.

“I might embarrass myself in March but I definitely wouldn’t play this week with no practice.

“I did inform them [WST] that if I was drawn this week I would pull out.

“I want to be able to at least give myself a chance of playing quite well.

“If you haven’t practiced, you can’t expect to go in against these guys and do anything.”

Hendry retired from the sport in 2012 after a glittering career which saw him dominate snooker in the 90s, gaining the nickname ‘The King of The Crucible.’

He made a spectacular maximum break in his last Betfred World Championship en route to the Quarter-Finals before bowing out whilst still situated among the sport’s elite.

Since then, he has featured on the World Seniors circuit, most recently at The Crucible last August, and has primarily worked as a television pundit for ITV and the BBC during major tournaments.

The 52-year-old has not featured in any of the eight ranking events so far this season, but has earmarked next month’s Welsh Open as a date for his potential return.

He added: “The aim is to play at Sheffield, my goal is to try and possibly play at The Crucible again – that would be incredible.

“I know I have to play in something before that, I can’t just go to the World Championship [qualifiers] cold so possibly the Welsh Open in February is an option.

“The players will be queuing up to commentate.

“I’ve had great messages of support, it’s not a full-time comeback, I must stress that, it’s just the odd event.”

WATCH THE WST PRO SERIES STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)