THE highs in 2014 keep on coming for world champion and world No1 Mark Selby as the Leicester Jester and wife Vikki announced the birth of a first child on Tuesday.

And Inside Snooker would like to add its warm congratulations to the many others winging their way to the new parents and baby girl.

Secondary for the Selby family but no doubt good news for snooker fans is that the arrival of a daughter, Sofia Maria, ahead of the due date will in all likelihood clear the way for the 31-year-old to play in the UK Championship later in November.

In a message sent out today Selby said: “Hi everyone, just to let you know Sofia Maria Selby arrived this afternoon weighing 7lb 7ozs and mum and baby are doing great.”

Selby, a former winner of the UK title in York, had made it clear he would miss the tournament if there was any possibility of it clashing with the birth, which he was determined to be at.

But he should now be able after a decent bit of paternity leave to take his place in the 128-man line-up at the Barbican Centre.

The 31-year-old has gone out early in the recent Champion of Champions and International Championship tournaments.

And Selby, who is having an extension built to house his practice table so he can spend more time at home, will no doubt be keen to get back to winning ways on the big stages after his May Crucible triumph.

In the spring he beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 18-14 in Sheffield to claim a first world title.

Speaking to Inside Snooker a couple of weeks ago, Selby said: “I definitely won’t play in as many events as I did last year. I missed the Australian Open, but supported that well in previous years.

“And as I have done okay in the first couple of European Tour events, winning one, I will probably miss one of the later ones, an extra break will come in handy from November onwards.

“Vikki wasn’t drinking all through the World Championship and at the after party, as we had only just found out and hadn’t told anyone.

“And it was mentioned, she said it was typical that I had gone and won the world title finally when she was pregnant and couldn’t toast my success.

“Basically I have been told in no uncertain terms that I have to win it again so she can join in the party properly!

“But that is a big reason for not playing in quite as much this season as I have done in the past, we are on the road so much and I don’t want to miss out as a father.”

The UK Championship starts on November 25.


Photograph by Monique Limbos