Stephen Hendry is set for an emotional playing return at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.
The 49-year-old retired from snooker in 2012 after a glittering career, which included a record seven World Championship titles and 27 consecutive appearances in Sheffield.
But the Scot has signed up to play on this season’s World Seniors Tour.
Hendry will compete at the UK Championship, at Hull’s Bonus Arena, on October 24-25 before travelling to Belfast for the World Seniors Six Reds event in March.
But it is his return to the Crucible – for the Sheffield Masters next April – that will evoke memories of his golden years at the home of snooker.
Hendry dominated the snooker circuit in the Nineties, and admitted: “There’s no venue where I love playing snooker more than the Crucible.
“We have done exhibitions there over the years, and to still walk down those stairs into that arena to play snooker is still something special. That’s something that will never leave me.”
Hendry, who will also compete at the World Seniors Championships and European Seniors Open, is excited at the new Seniors Tour.
“I want to improve on my general standards of play, from the events that I played last year,” he said.
“It’s more official this year, with the backing of World Snooker and a calendar of events to look forward to.
“I will treat it a bit more seriously, put a bit more practice in. As for my own expectations, I just want to play some good snooker.”
The Tour has £200k in prize money this season, six ranking events and 15 qualifying events where anyone over 40 can win a spot to take on the legends in the final stages.
Qualfying events will be held in Hong Kong, Toronto, Houston, Brugge and China.
First up for Hendry is a trip to Hull, which will also include a launch dinner and golf day, alongside fellow stars Ken Doherty, Dennis Taylor, John Parrott and Yorkshire’s Joe Johnson.
Up for grabs is a £10,000 winner’s prize plus a place in the World Professional Championship Qualifiers.
“The new Bonus Arena in Hull looks amazing,” said Hendry. “This year the Seniors Tour feels more serious and I’m looking forward to competing again against the other legends.”