Name: Steve Davis

Nicknames: 'Ginger Mushroom', 'Nugget', Steve 'Interesting' Davis, 'Master Cueman', 'Ginger Magician'

Snooker
Then and now: Willie Thorne
18/03/2010 AT 10:30

Nationality: English (born Plumstead, London)

Age: 52 (Born August 22, 1957)

Professional: 1978-

Highest ranking: 1st (1983/84 - 1989/90)

Career highlights: World champion 1981, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989; UK champion 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987; English professional champion 1981; British Open champion 1986, 1993; Mercantile Credit Classic champion 1987, 1988, 1992.

THEN

Since first picking up a cue as a 12 year-old at Plumstead Common Working Men's Club in 1969, snooker has dominated Steve Davis's life as much as he has dominated the sport.

By 17, Davis had abandoned his education in order to play snooker, a decision which prompted a meteoric rise to the top of the game.

His big break came in 1976. Having been spotted by Barry Hearn while playing at the Romford Lucania club, Davis was immediately snapped up by the promoter who would become his manager.

Davis's subsequent rise was spectacular, turning professional soon after winning the Pontin's Open in 1978, a title he would successfully defend the following year for his first professional trophy.

His notoriously patient and measured play saw Davis conquer the snooker world in the 1980s, winning six world championships and dominating the world rankings. He received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 1988, and was made an MBE in the same year.

By 1989 snooker had seen the emergence of a young Scottish player called Stephen Hendry, who would go on to dominate the 1990s as Davis had ruled in the 1980s.

However, the Englishman's legacy had already been secured as the first player in the modern era to successfully defend his world title, which he did in 1984, 1988, and 1989.

In a distinguished career, Davis has amassed a record 81 professional titles, 28 of them in ranking events.

Greatest moment

His first world title in 1981. Having dismissed an array of legends including Alex Higgins, Terry Griffiths, and Cliff Thorburn on his way to the final, Davis comprehensively out-played Doug Mountjoy 18-12 to lift the trophy for the first time.

Worst moment

Losing the world championship final to Dennis Taylor in 1985, a match many consider to be the best final in the tournament's history. Having raced to a 7-0 lead in the opening session, Davis looked to be on his way to a third consecutive world title. However, his game collapsed in the evening, and he instead ended the first day just two frames ahead at 9-7.

The rest of the final saw the Englishman unable to break away from Taylor, taking the match to a deciding frame and, ultimately, the infamous 'black-ball finish'. As Taylor potted to win, it was the first point in the final that he had taken the lead. Watched by 18.5 million television viewers, it was an extraordinary way to lose a final, and an iconic moment in sporting history.

NOW

Having yet to retire from professional snooker, Davis has continued to build on his legendary reputation both on and off the table.

Currently the oldest player on the circuit at 52, Davis will become the first player in history to compete in a 30th World Championship at the Crucible.

Away from the baize, Davis has had considerable success as a snooker pundit, as well as making regular television appearances on sports entertainment and quiz shows.

He has written several books on snooker, has appeared in high-profile, televised poker tournaments, is an accomplished chess-player and former president of the British Chess Federation, and was made an OBE in 2001.

Davis has a passion for prog-rock, and currently hosts 'The Interesting Alternative Show'; on Phoenix FM, Brentwood's community radio station.

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