WHAT a week at The Crucible.
World number two and pre-tournament favourite Judd Trump was knocked out by Ali Carter 13-12; and eight top-16 seeds fell at the first round hurdle.
Trump and Carter, beaten finalists in 2011 and 2008 respectively, exchanged less-than-pleasantries in the post-match press conference - Carter thought that 22-year-old Trump broke snooker etiquette by not apologising after ‘fluking shots’.
“A lot of players enjoy me losing, and I don’t know why,” Trump replied. “I’m not a bad person – I don’t have any beef with anyone.
“I’m still a lot younger than him [Carter] and I have done a lot better, so let’s just let the snooker do the talking.”
When Trump’s time to do exactly that came, however, the silence was deafening. Leading 12-9, the left hander needed just one frame to clinch victory – but was powerless to prevent Carter winning four on the bounce and taking the game.
“I’ve been on the wrong end of too many matches like that,” Carter added, “and now he can feel what it’s like to have a nasty scar on his career.”
The biggest story of the tournament so far, however, was undoubtedly the retirement of Stephen Hendry, the seven-time Crucible champion and arguably the greatest player to ever pick up a cue.
Scotsman Hendry made a dignified retirement announcement in the wake of a heavy 13-2 defeat against fellow countryman Stephen Maguire in the quarter-final on Tuesday.
“It was quite an easy decision,” said Hendry, who said he had made up his mind to retire three months ago.
“There’s a few reasons; the schedule, I’m not playing the snooker I want to play and I’m not enjoying practice.”
Hendry made a 147 maximum in his first-round game against Stuart Bingham, and beat defending champion John Higgins 13-4 in the last round.
“I’ve had so many memories here; I could write a book about my memories at The Crucible,” Hendry added.
“It’s sad that I won’t play here again, I love playing here. But it’s a relief as much as anything.”
Hendry announced he will become a global ambassador for Chinese Pool.
Referee Paul Collier took charge of Hendry’s last professional match, and tweeted: “Every match was a pleasure to referee. Thanks for all the memories.”