Mark Selby says has no World Championship expectations amid mental health battle

Selby gets the defence of his title under way against Jamie Jones at the Crucible on Saturday.

By Press Association Published: 15 April 2022 - 4.42pm

Mark Selby says winning a fifth world snooker title at the Crucible this year would rank as the greatest achievement of his career in light of his ongoing mental health battle.

The 38-year-old, who gets the defence of his title under way against Jamie Jones at the Crucible on Saturday, withdrew from the last two tournaments in Turkey and Gibraltar and gave serious consideration to also pulling out of the Sheffield showpiece.

Selby says he is now in a “better place” and will embark on his quest with no expectations as he continues to battle the condition which has put the game, and his recently relinquished status as world number one, into sharp perspective.

Betfred World Snooker Championships 2022 – Media Day – The Crucible
Mark Selby hopes to “smile a little bit” during his Crucible campaign (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“For sure (it would be my greatest achievement), because the game is tough enough anyway and to be here for two weeks is mentally and physically draining,” said Selby.

“It is a challenge for me but it is a challenge I am willing to take on.

“Having pulled out of Turkey and Gibraltar I wasn’t even thinking about playing in this. I thought I will see how it goes with the doctor and if I feel a bit better I will come and play because it would be a shame not to defend my title.

“As the weeks have gone on I have noticed a little bit of improvement, so I will give it a go. I have no expectations of myself. If I win that’s great and if I lose it’s not the end of the world, I will go home and concentrate on getting myself better.”

“If I lost it would take me a few days to get over it. I was living and breathing snooker and now I am balancing my life better. My biggest aim is just to go out and enjoy it tomorrow, and try to smile a little bit.”
- Mark Selby

Selby recently opened up about his struggles with mental health, which stemmed from the death of his father David to cancer in 1999.

He reflected on how he felt no pleasure in winning his second world title in 2016 and how he has since worked towards establishing a better relationship with his sport.

“I have got a different perspective on snooker in general because I used to play like it was life or death,” added Selby.

“If I lost it would take me a few days to get over it. I was living and breathing snooker and now I am balancing my life better. My biggest aim is just to go out and enjoy it tomorrow, and try to smile a little bit.”

BT Sport Monthly Pass

Join the home of live sport for just £25 per month. Get instant access to the BT Sport app, with no contract and no BT broadband required.