Stephen Hendry is set to launch his improbable snooker comeback in Milton Keynes on Tuesday, nine years after retiring from the professional tour.

The 52-year-old joins a long list of major stars who could not resist giving their respective vocations one last shot after a significant period on the sidelines.

Here the PA news agency re-lives some of the best – and worst – experiences of those who succumbed to the comeback trail.


George Foreman launches grill
George Foreman grilled Michael Moorer to retain the world heavyweight title (Johnny Green/PA Archive)

Former world heavyweight champion Foreman announced his comeback at the age of 38 in 1987, after 10 years out of the ring. After close defeats to Evander Holyfield and Tommy Morrison, Foreman remarkably claimed the world title when he outpointed Michael Moorer at the age of 45 in 1992.


Dublin Bjorn Borg
Bjorn Borg’s professional tennis comeback is best forgotten (Chris Beacon/PA)

Borg retired at the age of 26 after winning 11 grand slam titles but inexplicably launched a comeback bid in 1991. Palpably unfit and insistent on still playing with a wooden racket, the Swede suffered 12 straight first round defeats before finally accepting enough was enough.


Olympics – Laureus Photocall – The Greenway
Mark Spitz launched an audacious bid to reach the 1992 Barcelona Olympics (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Not content with winning seven gold medals, all in world record time, at the 1972 Munich Olympics, swimming star Spitz returned at the age of 41 to try to qualify for the 1992 Games in Barcelona. Although his times roughly mirrored those from his Olympic triumphs, he finished two seconds outside the mark to make the US Trials.


Horse Racing – The Oaks – Epsom
Lester Piggott won the Breeders’ Cup at the age of 54 (PA Archive)

Piggott announced his retirement from horse racing in 1985 after a stunning career including riding five Derby winners and 11 Ascot Gold Cups. But after five years out, including a spell in prison for tax fraud, he announced his return which culminated, at the age of 54, in his victory aboard Royal Academy in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.


Winter Olympics – Lillehammer 94 – Figure Skating – Mixed Ice Dancing – Olympic Amphitheatre, Hamar
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean had to settle for bronze in Lillehammer (Adam Butler/PA)

Having swept the board in Sarajevo with a string of perfect sixes in 1984, British ice dance pair Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean promptly turned professional. But 10 years later they returned for one more shot at the Olympics in Lillehammer. Amid such huge anticipation, their eventual bronze medal was considered a somewhat disappointing return.