Snooker

Emotional Steve Davis announces retirement after glorious 38-year career

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Steve Davis at the Crucible in 1996

Image credit: PA Photos

ByDesmond Kane
17/04/2016 at 12:33 | Updated 17/04/2016 at 16:26

Six-times world champion Steve Davis fought back tears after announcing his retirement from snooker at the age of 58 revealing that he only prolonged his glorious career because of the commitment to his late father Bill, who died in late March.

Davis won 28 ranking tournaments over 38 years, making him one of the greatest players to pick up a cue in the history of snooker and one of the most recognised sportsmen in the United Kingdom after winning six titles in the 1980s when snooker was one of the most popular sports in the UK.

His final match came a week ago, when he lost 10-4 to Fergal O'Brien in the first round of World Championship qualifying.

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He will attend the funeral of dad Bill over the next few days. Bill Davis died after an illness at the age of 89.

His father travelled with him extensively as a coach and mentor, helping him with his technique, during his dominance of the game in the 1980s when he won a record six times at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, a number he shared with Welshman Ray Reardon before Stephen Hendry won for a seventh time in 1999.

"I probably should have retired earlier which Stephen Hendry did, but if I did I would have missed one of the greatest wins of my career against John Higgins (in the last 16 of the World Championship in 2010)," said Davis.

SNOOKER 1987 - World Championship - Steve Davis

Image credit: Imago

"The last couple of years have been quite tough because I wasn't getting much success.

"I think I was doing it for my father then. Because that is what we done. From that persepective, I probably should have retired then.

"He'd have probably gone yes, fair enough. I was still able to play in the World Championship every year (as a wildcard). I entered this year for my father against Fergal, but he wasn't very well.

"He was still alive when I entered, but he passed away when I entered the match."

Ironically, Davis is perhaps best remembered for losing the 1985 final to Dennis Taylor on the final black when he somehow overcut the black before Taylor sealed a famous 18-17 win that was watched by an estimated 18.5 million beyond midnight on a Monday morning, an audience that remains a record figure for BBC2.

Steve Davis announces retirement from snooker

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"Missing the black against Dennis Taylor was the best and worst moment of my career," said Davis.

Speaking on the BBC where he works as a pundit these days, Davis said: "It has been a fantastic. The game will move on to other places but I feel like the grandfather of the sport."

Steve Davis career highlights

World Champion - 6: 1981, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989

UK Championship - 4: 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987

End-of-season world number one - 7: 1984, 1985. 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989

First player to make 147 break in professional competition - 1982

22 consecutive World Championship appearances - 1979-2000

Steve Davis 1981

Image credit: Imago

OUR VIEW - WHERE DOES DAVIS RANK ON THE ALL-TIME LIST OF GREATS?

It would probably be fair to say he is the third greatest player behind Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry to brandish a cue in the history of the sport. He is certainly the game's great ambassador, continuing to promote the sport on and off the table long after he was competitive at the summit of it. As he himself said during his media conference announcing his retirement, O'Sullivan's five world titles are worth more than Hendry's seven and his own six simply because he is playing in a more demanding era.

He is also a very likeable chap with a self-deprecating sense of humour, who can retire in the knowledge that he extracted the maximum amount from every drop of his career. There will not be another snooker player will go on for 38 years. In the case of Steve Davis, it is fair to say we will not see his like again.

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