Robertson salutes snooker ace Ebdon

Australian snooker star Neil Robertson has saluted fellow former world champion Peter Ebdon after the British player announced his retirement from the sport due to injury.

The 49-year-old Ebdon opted to end his career rather than have spinal surgery after suffering from neck, back, shoulder and arm pain.

Ebdon won the 2002 World Championship, beating Stephen Hendry in a 18-17 thriller, and also reached the 1996 and 2006 finals.

The Londoner won eight other ranking events, including the 2006 UK Championship, during 29 years on the circuit.

Melbourne-born world No.2 Robertson tweeted on Thursday: "Very sad to hear @pdebdon retire but what an amazing career. There are certainly no questions of 'what ifs' as you put your life and soul into the game and incredibly generous with your time to help others. I don't respect many people more in life and as a player."

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 10 years."

Ebdon's last match was a qualifier at the German Masters in December following which he pulled out of several events through injury.