Stephen Hendry believes Jimmy White's failure to reach the Crucible since 2006 can help his own prospects of progress ahead of their much-anticipated World Championship qualifier on Monday night.
The seven-times world champion faces the six-times runner-up White – who he famously defeated in four Crucible finals between 1990 and 1994 – for the 60th time on the main World Snooker Tour in the opening qualifying round after ending a nine-year absence in a 4-1 defeat to Matthew Selt at the Gibraltar Open last month.
Hendry harbours dreams of winning four matches to return to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, scene of his greatest victories in the sport and arguably his most forgettable defeat when he retired following a 13-2 drubbing by Stephen Maguire in the 2012 quarter-finals.
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The 36-times ranking event winner admits he will use White's failure to qualify over the past 15 years as a reminder to relax when they meet at the English Institute of Sport.
White has not returned to the Crucible since losing 10-5 to David Gray in the first round in 2006 with Hendry believing any lack of success is all down to the individual.
"It's a different situation, but I have to remember how I coped with being number one for all those years. Hopefully, I can enjoy the fact that people want to beat me," said Hendry, who spent a record 10 years as number one with nine straight seasons at the summit between 1990 and 1998.
"I will be a scalp for somebody. I've got to approach it and not put too much importance on it because I think you look at Jimmy all these years.
I think Jimmy has been dying to play at the Crucible again all these years and I think it has affected him in qualifying. He's almost trying too hard.
"I've got to guard against that. I've got to be mentally prepared to go there and experience it. I've got to guard against trying too hard and wanting it too much.
"I've got excitement to see how far my game will go, but no expectations."
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Hendry has no plans to change his social media handles from 775 until he makes his 800th century in the sport despite hitting his 776th against Selt with a classy break of 107 a timely reminder of his ability among the balls.
He is hoping fans will be allowed back to the sport's most celebrated venue with a full house of up to 1,000 set to be allowed access to the Crucible as a test scheme for the government's vaccine passport idea.
"One of the main reasons why I came back was to experience the Crucible with fans and play a match in it," said Hendry, who has been working on producing a tighter safety game to enhance his long game.
Hendry, in the first year of a two-year invitational tour card, was last forced to qualify for the World Championship in 1988 when he lost 13-12 to White, then seeded second, in the second round. Ranked 83 in the world, White needs a victory to keep alive his hopes of retaining his tour card.
"It's a lot tougher to win four matches now than it was then," said Hendry. "You almost have to win a tournament to qualify. It was an adventure back then."
"I wouldn't say I have written these two tournaments off," added the Scotsman, who is 35-19 clear of White on their career head-to-heads.
"I'm going to try to win them, but I want to get used to being out there, back in that situation.
"Hopefully, over the next year I can play in some more events and see where it takes me. "
Jimmy White v Stephen Hendry and the World Championship qualifiers are live and exclusive on the Eurosport app and eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app now for iOS and Android.
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