Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry, aged 51, announced on Tuesday that he will come out of retirement to play the next two seasons on the World Snooker Tour.

The Scot saw Ronnie O’Sullivan move to within one of his record tally of world championship titles last month at the Crucible.

Hendry originally retired in 2012 after a quarter-final defeat in Sheffield, despite having hit a maximum 147 break in that year’s championship.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to enter some tournaments over the coming two seasons,” he said.

“I’ve really enjoyed picking up my cue again recently at the World Seniors and after some coaching I feel a little more confident in my game.

“I’ve always missed the buzz of competing and although I have no expectations in terms of performance, this felt like a good time to explore getting back to the table.”

Hendry won his maiden world championship in 1990, the first of four final wins over Jimmy White, and last lifted the trophy in 1999.

“He is a giant of the sport and I know that all eyes will be on him every time he takes to the table in the coming months,” said World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn.

Hendry has claimed 36 rankings titles in total, a mark O’Sullivan passed to set a new record of 37 with his latest Crucible triumph.