The former world champion announced his retirement from snooker at the age of 49 on Thursday.
Peter Ebdon has played his final match on the Main Tour, deciding to pack away his cue as a result of a recurring injury.
The Englishman turned professional in 1991 and quickly rose up through the rankings list, twice reaching a career high of number three in the world.
In three decades playing at the highest level, Ebdon’s defining achievement was of course being crowned champion of the world in 2002.
The “Force” won nine ranking titles in total and accumulated several other invitational victories as well.
Ebdon’s style of play considerably divided opinion, with his matches often lasting several hours as a result of his distinctly measured approach.
Never shy of offering his opinion, Ebdon has also cut a controversial figure online in recent times due to his outspoken political views expressed on social media.
Still, his achievements on the table merit recognition and his name will, deservedly, go down in history as one of the most important from his era.
Peter Ebdon told World Championship sponsor 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 ten 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. Having weighed everything up that is the decision I have come to.
“At the moment I can walk and talk and the pain has got better. I have received a lot of help from the healers at the College of Healing so a big thank you to them.
“I’d like to continue with my commentary for the BBC if possible, I have trained to become a professional healer myself, and I’ve also got a professional pedigree consultancy business.
“It was difficult to put time into those things while I was playing snooker so I can do that now.
“I’ll have the opportunity to put something back through healing, as well as spending more time with (wife) Nora.”
Top Ten Career Highlights of Peter Ebdon
IBSF World Under-21 Champion
Peter Ebdon turned professional in 1991, just when the sport was being opened up to allow any aspiring cueist to join the ranks.
But the then 21 year-old had already achieved promotion the harder way, by capturing the IBSF World Under-21 Championship in Brisbane.
Ebdon was widely regarded at that point as one of the best amateurs in the game, a mainstay of the thriving London scene that also included the likes of Irishman Ken Doherty and a teenage Ronnie O’Sullivan.
In Australia, Ebdon edged Oliver King in the final 11-9, his triumph sandwiched in between Doherty and O’Sullivan’s respective wins in the same competition in 1989 and 1991.
After turning pro, it didn’t take long for Ebdon to make an impact, and he qualified for the Crucible Theatre at the first time of asking.
Ebdon won eight preliminary ties to reach the first round in Sheffield, and on his World Championship debut he stunned six-time champion Steve Davis with a 10-4 upset.
Sporting a ponytail – yes, younger readers, you read that correctly – and boasting a free-flowing attacking style – yes, younger readers, you read that correctly – Ebdon also won his next match before losing to Terry Griffiths in the quarter-finals.
Maiden Ranking Success
It was pretty clear that Ebdon was going to be a mainstay among the higher echelons, and it didn’t take too long for him to etch his name onto silverware.
Davis gained revenge on Ebdon at the 1993 World Championship, but a few months later the latter was lifting the trophy aloft at the Grand Prix.
Once considered to be among the sport’s biggest prizes to claim, his 9-6 victory in the Grand Prix final over Doherty highlighted his pedigree for the big-time.
I Am a Clown
By 1996, Ebdon’s hair had dramatically receded but his game was still sharp, and he proved it by reaching the World Championship final for the first time.
However, this part of Ebdon’s career is arguably remembered more for his odd dabble with the music industry.
He released a cover of “I Am a Clown” that year and a second single followed soon after.
Needless to say, Ebdon enjoyed only limited amounts of success as an entertainer.
Many fans of a certain age will remember Ebdon for some of his outlandish outbursts of celebration.
It had happened before, but this was never more evident than during his 2001 deciding frame victory over Stephen Lee at the Crucible.
Upon potting the winning ball, Ebdon released the kraken of energy that had been bottled up inside of him for the entirety of the contest.
“Come on, come on, come on,” a fired-up Ebdon roared in front of an opponent who, unsurprisingly, was less than impressed.
Champion of the World
All of that emotion ultimately worked for him, though, and it should be remembered what a formidable competitor he was.
What’s the opposite of rose-tinted glasses? Well, whatever it is that’s probably how the majority of people view the 2002 World Championship.
Ebdon produced an incredible level that year, particularly demonstrating a fearless, never-say-die strategy in which he conjured up his best when his back was against the wall.
A 17-16 semi-final over Matthew Stevens featured a pink that ought to go down as one of the bravest shots in the history of the game.
That he beat the “King” Stephen Hendry 18-17 in the final, one of only three Crucible title deciders to go the distance, made his success that bit sweeter.
As the career of Peter Ebdon developed, so did his style of play, and eventually his game transformed to rely primarily on defensive tactics and all-round matchplay prowess.
Maybe because of this, Ebdon’s encounters with Ronnie O’Sullivan generally garnered more attention as it pitted chalk and cheese against one another.
The pair had countless battles including four at the Crucible, and it’s their 2005 World Championship showdown that evokes the strongest memories.
Trailing 10-6 at the start of the third session in their quarter-final bout, Ebdon employed snail-like tactics that wore down the then reigning champion – at one stage taking five minutes to compile a meagre break of 12.
A visibly perplexed and frustrated O’Sullivan couldn’t find any rhythm, and Ebdon duly fought back to triumph 13-11.
UK Championship Glory
A little over a year later, Ebdon was back in the final of the World Championship but missed out on a second success to Graeme Dott – a turgid affair that was bereft of much quality.
Yet, Ebdon was clearly playing good snooker and another major title was again within his grasp when he embarked on a run to the final of the UK Championship in December of 2006.
Just like the World Championship finals of 1996 and 2002, Hendry was the opponent and Ebdon had the last laugh in their mini-rivalry from the Triple Crown events – winning 10-6 in York.
It left the Masters as the only major trophy not in his cabinet, but Ebdon rarely threatened in the prestigious invitational and reached only two semi-finals in 18 appearances in London.
By 2012, Ebdon’s career was definitely on the slide, underlined by his name dropping outside the world’s top 16 for the first time since the mid-90s.
Fighting for places at the business end of competitions had generally become a thing of the past, but an unlikely resurgence came in that year’s China Open.
Beijing had provided Ebdon with his most recent victory back in 2009, and three years after he repeated the trick for his last ranking title.
The 41 year-old Ebdon counted Hendry and John Higgins among his victims in the build-up to the final, where he denied another Scot Stephen Maguire in an eight-hour epic that ended 10-9.
As the years progressed and time took its hold, Ebdon has generally found himself scrapping in the preliminaries and early rounds of tournaments.
He puts his longevity down, in part, to becoming vegan, a decision which somewhat led to other players on the circuit adopting the diet too.
Sparks of old were ignited in 2018 when Ebdon unexpectedly reached the final of the Paul Hunter Classic, ultimately falling just short to Kyren Wilson.
By that point, though, Peter Ebdon had achieved more than enough in the game, and it’s just a pity that he can’t bow out on his own terms.
Ebdon will always divide opinion but, like him or loathe him, he has played an important role in the sport’s history over the course of a brilliant 30-year career.
Featured photo credit: Monique Limbos
@pdebdon Heard the news of your retirement and I just wanted to say thank you for your services to snooker and congratulate you on a wonderful professional career. Good luck for the future.
— Barry Hearn (@BarryHearn) April 30, 2020
Happy retirement to @pdebdon what a fantastic career… Also learn a lot from playing him in my early career and he loved to take on some crazy shots at times which I have a lot of respect for lol 👍🏻
— Judd trump (@judd147t) April 30, 2020
Best wishes to Peter Ebdon in his retirement. The only player to win the World Championship by winning deciders in the semi-final and final.
— David Hendon (@davehendon) April 30, 2020