Mark Selby: ''This Was Emotional – I Considered Not Defending My Title''

The four-time world champion was relieved and emotional after beating Wales’s Jamie Jones 10-7 at the Crucible
23:58, 16 Apr 2022

Mark Selby admitted he considered not defending his Betfred World Championship title after reaching the last 16 on Saturday night. 

The four-time world champion was relieved and emotional after beating Wales’s Jamie Jones 10-7 at the Crucible in Sheffield. 

Leicester’s Selby, 38, spoke out publicly earlier this year about ongoing mental health issues that saw him take time and miss two events out before the blue-riband tournament. 

That saw him receive a standing ovation when he entered the arena in the morning and huge support again at the end from the capacity crowd. 

World No2 Selby, who rattled in three centuries, looked tanned and relaxed after a two-week family holiday in Dubai. 

And he said: “I am better. It was tough and emotional going out there today after not playing and working with a doctor for a while – and great to get such an ovation from the crowd. 

“ Initially we had tried the treatment while still playing, but that got too much. And it is just nice to be back playing. 

“I decided to take time out a few weeks ago and when I decided I wasn’t going to play in the Turkish Masters and Gibraltar I was still up in the air about playing in this. 

“But I have done more sessions and I would like to say a big thank you to my doctor. The result today was a bit irrelevant, really. 

“Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to win but being out there and enjoying it again was far more important, and letting whatever was going to happen just happen. 

“I really enjoyed the game today and that has been missing most of this season. I love the game and being in a tough mental state has been difficult and that’s why I took the break. 

“It would have been a shame to have been out there, back at such a great venue and not enjoying it so that was pleasing. 

“Most of this season when I have been playing, especially against Barry Hawkins at the Masters, I haven’t been enjoying it at all. I still love the game, but it is so hard if you’re not right. 

“When the draw came out I knew it was going to be a tough match against Jamie – as has been said, it is one of the toughest sets of qualifiers to get to the Crucible. 

“There were no easy matches but Jamie is a great lad and a good player, it is great to see him back on the tour and doing well after his two years away climbing the rankings. 

“I will go home now for a few days, maybe in the morning as I am a bit tired and my wife Vikki has had a few wines. And then I’ll do a couple of days’ practice and come back on Thursday. 

“And I have another of my planned sessions with the doctor in between on Wednesday.” 

After losing the first frame, Selby then battered Jones with breaks of 71, 134, 64, 73, 129 and 55 to forge 6-2 ahead – before a run of a 50 from his opponent made it 6-3 at the end of the morning session. 

On resuming last night an early finish looked on the cards when Selby extended his lead to 8-3 before a fightback from Jones saw him close to 8-6 adrift. 

A monster break of 137, his third century of the match, put Selby on the brink at 9-6 – and he soon closed it out. 

World No37 Jones, 34, was banned for a year back in 2018 for failing to report an illegal approach – and that cost him the best part of two seasons after falling off the tour. 

But the former Crucible quarter-finalist is getting back to being highly competitive in major events. 

He said: “I just couldn’t seem to get control of the white around the black spot and you need to make things simple for yourself with that sort of pressure. 

“I do have a lot of heart and I never give up. I could have rolled over at 8-3 down but I didn’t and at least battled very hard against the world champion. 

“I haven’t showed my best form this season but I will be working with a coach, Chris Henry, next season and I think there is something technical with my cue action that we can get right.” 

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