Former world champion Peter Ebdon has announced his retirement from snooker because of a chronic neck injury.
The 49-year-old won the World Championship title in 2002 – beating Stephen Hendry 18-17 in the final – and won eight other ranking events, including the 2006 UK Championship.
He has made the decision to retire in order to avoid spinal surgery.
“Having weighed everything up that is the decision I have come to,” Ebdon told Betfred.
“I had an MRI scan about seven weeks ago, which picked up significant wear and tear in my neck. There is serious deterioration in some of the vertebrae and I have been in pain since Christmas.
“Two of the vertebrae need to be replaced, which is not an operation I want to have because if it went wrong I could be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
“It’s far too risky. The professor explained to me that it wouldn’t be a cure. It could work, but it could make things worse and I would probably need to have it again in 10 years.
“The one thing I can’t do if I don’t have the operation is play snooker again, because of the compression in my neck. So, as sad as it is for me, that’s the end.
“At the moment I can walk and talk and the pain has got better.”
Ebdon, nicknamed ‘The Force’, twice achieved a career high world ranking of number three while his last victory at a ranking event came at the 2012 China Open.
His last match was at December’s German Masters qualifiers, after which he subsequently pulled out of several ranking events because of injury.