Mark's Interview

 

Mark Selby targets the Triple Crown after his UK Championship success against Ronnie O'Sullivan

by Jon Paul, 6th December 2016

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Two world titles. Three Masters titles. World No.1 for pretty much the last six years. And now two UK Championship titles. There is not much more Mark Selby can achieve in snooker.

But just a few hours after beating Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-7 in a UK final of the highest standard, Selby was already turning his mind towards his next goal – the Triple Crown.

The 'Jester from Leicester' has been out on his own this year, winning six titles since January, including the Crucible crown in May, and confirming his reputation as the best player in the world.

Having beaten O'Sullivan in York on Sunday night, Selby became only the sixth player to hold the world and Betway UK titles in the same year.

He will now go to next month's Masters with the chance of holding all three trophies at the same time, a rare feat indeed as only three players have ever won all three events in the same season.

"That's definitely at the forefront of my mind," said Selby. "Achieving the Triple Crown is my next goal, it would be very special to hold all three at the same time.

"If I never win another title ever again, I would still be a happy man.

"But I don't want that, I want to carry on achieving as much as I can and stay at the top as long as I can. Winning just makes me want to go out and do it again.

"This has been an amazing year, certainly the best in my career, but I've no intention of letting the good times stop now.

"I work as hard as I've ever done, but I think the difference this year has been my mindset.

"In the past, if I lost, I'd come home devastated and beat myself up for three or four days.

"Now, if I lose, I come home and see Sofia (his and wife Vikki's two-year-old daughter) and she puts it all in perspective.

"Losing still hurts, but there are more important things in life now.

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pic: Leicester Mercury

"Snooker is not the be-all-and-end-all, and that has made me more relaxed about it and I go out there and enjoy it more.

"Sofia inspires me to do the best I can, and I want the best life for her that I can possibly give."

When Selby won the world title in May, his route to the final saw him avoid the 'big names' until beating Ding Junhui to lift the trophy.

However, in York, Selby beat former world champions John Higgins and Shaun Murphy before booking his date against O'Sullivan, who is generally regarded as the most naturally-gifted player ever to pick up a cue.

"To beat Ronnie makes it more special," said Selby. "I played well during the whole week and didn't miss much, and this was the final I wanted.

"He brings the best out in me, and to be able to say I beat him to win the title is as good as it gets."

O'Sullivan was happy to concede that Selby is setting a staggeringly high benchmark in the sport.

Despite his own contribution to a match which saw five centuries in the closing six frames, including three total clearances in succession and closing back-to-back tons from Selby, O'Sullivan was happy to admit the better man won.

"I think I did all right considering he's world No.1 and so far ahead of everyone else," he said.

"Mark's done well to him so congratulations to him. I enjoyed my game, I just missed too many balls to win tournaments.

"He's a fantastic player, he's won a lot of tournaments and he's a very tough match player. He's got the all-round game."


(the source: Leicester Mercury, 6th December 2016)



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