London: Mark Selby, who was crowned world snooker champion again on Sunday, refused to accept that he had joined the elite of the game, insisting his own opinion of himself had not changed.
“Other people might see me now as one of the greats,” he said. “But it’s hard to think of yourself as that. I’m just Mark Selby the snooker player.” Selby, 33, was speaking in the immediate aftermath of a final at the Crucible, Sheffield, which redefined the term attrition.
“I’ve never been one to look to the record books or think I need to go down as one of the greats,” the champion said when asked if he was motivated by an urge to better those who have gone before.
“I just play snooker because I love the game.”
He will return to his home in Leicester clutching the pounds 350,000 winner’s cheque, which takes his earnings this season to nearly pounds one million. Which might be reckoned in itself evidence that he is now the dominant force in the game. But Selby is not sure.
“This year I’ve had a good season, winning five ranking events including this. People say no one is going to dominate in this period because of the high standard. You could argue I have this year, but definitely not in the past. To try and have another season like this will be hard.”
Last season his triumph was overshadowed by the success of his beloved Leicester City, who seized the Premier League title on the same day he won in Sheffield.
“Completely overshadowed,” he said. “But I wasn’t disappointed. I mean how many times are Leicester going to win the Premier League? I was more than happy for them to take the limelight away from me. I paraded the trophy on the pitch at the King Power, which was good enough for me.”
This year, however, he will have the stage to himself. “Yeah, true. But I still don’t think I’ll get an open-topped bus.”
— The Telegraph Group Limited, London 2017