To many Snooker fans, it is a mystery how Stephen Lee has only amassed just 5 ranking titles in his almost 20 years as a professional. A gifted player, Stephen turned professional in 1992 and within 5 years was ranked in the top 16 in the world through a series of consistent performances. Indeed, in 1998 he won the Grand Prix, his first ranking event and pushed into the top 8, showing potential to dominate world Snooker in a way that would never quite materialise.
In the early 2000’s, he briefly seemed to be performing the level many speculated he could achieve, in winning a second Grand Prix and adding Scottish Open titles in 2001 and 2002 respectively. From there his form slumped, he flirted with dropping out of the top 16, and despite winning the 2006 Welsh Open, would eventually do so, as over a 10 year period this would prove to be his only ranking final; a far cry from the promise of his early career.
However, 2012 was a turning point for Stephen as he reached his first final for 6 years, albeit one he would lose to Mark Allen in the World Open. This though didn’t deter him, and he came out on top at the PTC Finals event, demonstrating his consistency across a large scale event, and his ability to perform under pressure: the final was a 4-0 whitewash against Neil Robertson.
Lee endured one of the most difficult years of his life during 2012/13 as match-fixing allegations were brought against him and he was ultimately suspended from Snooker and to date is still being investigated,
Whilst many players would see 5 ranking tournament wins as a solid career, Stephen will be well aware he could have won more. However, at points in his career where his ranking began to slide he has proven more than once he can battle back into contention and his form at the start of 2012 proves this. Should he manage to escape further ban after his match-fixing scandal, Stephen Lee still has the skill and gameplay to truly do justice to his fantastic talent and collect the elusive World Championship.
Nickname: Talent from Trowbridge
Management Company: Pockets Snooker (Adam Quigley)
Date of Birth: 12.10.1974
Lives: Trowbridge, Wiltshire
Professional Since: 1992
Current World Ranking: 21
Highest Tournament Break: 145 (2008 Northern Ireland Trophy)
Ranking Tournament Wins: Grand Prix (1998) LG Cup (2001) Scottish Open (2002) Welsh Open (2006) PTC 4 (2010) PTC Finals (2012)
Non Ranking Wins: General Cup Hong Kong (2011)
Official Facebook: Stephen Lee
Favourite Sportsperson: Mike Tyson
Favourite Football Team: Chelsea
Favourite Fellow Pro: Paul Hunter (dearly missed)
Partner: Married to Laura and they have 4 children, Connor, Sharna, Alfie and Ronnie.
In 1992 Stephen won 33 consecutive frames in the qualifiers, a record. He loves holidaying with his family in Orlando. Stephen quoted ‘ I owe a debt of gratitude to Barry Hearn’ for not only turning the game around… but my life also!