MARK SELBY admits it took some time for the enormity of becoming world champion to sink in.

Selby, who beat Steve Davis 4-1 in the first round of the Champion of Champions on Tuesday, produced a dramatic clearance to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Crucible last May and get his hands on the game’s most treasured trophy for the first time.

But the Leicester man says it took a while to adjust to what he had achieved as he experiences the thrill of being introduced as world champion at venues around the world.

He told Inside Snooker: “I’ve watched the last frame back, where I cleared up. Looking back, I don’t know how I held myself together under the circumstances. In a way, it was probably more beneficial to me the way the frame went rather than having a clear-cut chance when all the balls are open, because you start thinking to yourself that you have to take the chance.

“I was so zoned in. I didn’t think anything. I was in the moment. When I was on the last black I wasn’t thinking, this is to become world champion. I just tried to play the shot for what it was and not build it up too much.

“I had people asking for years if I was going to win it and whether I was good enough, so even if I never win it again I’ve managed to achieve what I wanted to when I came into the game. Hopefully I can carry that confidence forward.

“It didn’t sink in for a long time. We’ve played tournaments since the World Championship but no big ones in the UK until this week. It’s so nice to be introduced into the arena as world champion, particularly when the BBC events come along because they tend to hype it up.

Mark Selby celebrates the moment of victory at the Crucible last season

Mark Selby celebrates the moment of victory at the Crucible last season

“I know that when people come to watch the world champion they might expect you to play exceptional snooker all the time, but we all know that doesn’t always happen. I’ve always put a lot of pressure on myself going into tournaments because I know how well I can play. When I’m not performing like that I can get a bit down on myself.

“I want to try and win as many tournaments as I can now. If I never won another tournament I’ve still achieved what I wanted, which was to win the big three events. It’s just a matter of trying to continue and keep challenging for tournaments, win another world, UK and so on.”

Life off table is also about to reach a high point for the 31 year-old with his wife, Vikki, due to give birth to the couple’s first child in a fortnight’s time.

“Two weeks today is the due date,” Selby said. “I’ve told her she’d better be on time because I’ve got the UK Championship just after that and I could be breaking off while she’s in labour.”


Photographs by Monique Limbos.