Mark Selby

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For the American musician, see Mark Selby (musician).
Mark Selby
Mark Selby at Snooker German Masters (DerHexer) 2013-01-30 15.jpg
Mark Selby at the 2013 German Masters
Born (1983-06-19) 19 June 1983 (age 31)
Leicester, England
Sport country  England
Nickname The Jester from Leicester
Professional 1999–[1]
Highest ranking 1
Current ranking 1 (as of 30 June 2014)
Career winnings £2,753,634[2]
Highest break 147 (2 times)
Century breaks 340[3]
Tournament wins
Ranking 4
Minor-ranking 5
Non-ranking 4
World Champion 2014
www.markselby.info

Mark Anthony Selby (born 19 June 1983) is an English professional snooker player from Leicester. He is the reigning World Snooker Champion.[4]

Selby joined the main professional snooker tour in 1999 at the age of 16,[5] having played on the UK Challenge Tour in 1998.[6] In 2007, he was runner-up to John Higgins at the World Snooker Championship.[7] After winning three Masters titles in 2008, 2010, and 2013, the UK Championship in 2012, and the World Championship in 2014, he became the ninth player to win all of snooker's Triple Crown events at least once. His other ranking titles include the Welsh Open in 2008 and the Shanghai Masters in 2011. Known as a tough competitor, Selby is also a prolific break-builder and has compiled more than 300 century breaks in his professional career. His nickname, "The Jester from Leicester", was given to him by snooker compere Richard Beare.[8]

Selby is also a pool player, and is the 2006 WEPF World Eight-ball Champion.

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Selby was born in Leicester, England. Malcolm Thorne, the brother of Leicester-born snooker player Willie Thorne, spotted Selby's snooker ability and started giving him free practice so that he pretty much practiced every day after school. His father died of cancer when he was 16, two months before he joined the main professional tour.[9][10]

He showed potential as a teenager, but did not consistently shine until his twenties. He began his career on the UK Tour in 1998, at the time the second-level professional tour.[11] He reached his first ranking final aged 19, the Regal Scottish in 2003, where he finished runner-up to David Gray, losing 9–7 in the final. Before that, he had also already reached the semi-finals of the 2002 China Open, despite leaving his hotel room at 2 a.m. instead of 2 p.m. for one match due to jetlag.[12]

Selby reached the final qualifying round of the World Snooker Championship in 2002, 2003 and 2004, losing each time. Early in the 2005/06 season he began to be managed by former snooker professional and fellow Leicester resident Mukesh Parmar and reached the final stages of the World Snooker Championship, at the Crucible Theatre, for the first time. Selby went out in the first round, losing to John Higgins but has qualified for the final stages every year since, including in 2006 despite a 147 from his final qualifying round opponent Robert Milkins. In that tournament, Selby once again faced Higgins in the first round and this time caused a huge upset by defeating the reigning Grand Prix and Masters champion 10–4, before being eliminated in the next round by Mark Williams.

2007–2011[edit]

In the 2007 World Championships, he beat Stephen Lee 10–7 in the first round, having won 8 successive frames from being 5–0 behind.[13] Selby then defeated former World Champion Peter Ebdon 13–8, with five centuries (including three-in-a-row) to reach the quarter-finals.[14] In the quarter-final, he beat Allister Carter 13–12, from 11–8 up and 11–12 down, in a match that lasted well over nine hours.[15] He went on to reach the final by beating Shaun Murphy 17–16 from 14–16 down, in another deciding frame which he won thanks to a 64 break.[16] Against Higgins in the final, Selby trailed 4–12 after the Sunday sessions, but won all six frames played in the third session on Monday afternoon before the players ran out of time due to the length of the frames. Thus he entered the final session only 10–12 down and closed to within one frame at 13–14, but eventually succumbed 13–18.[7] His performances earned him £110,000 (not far off half of his pre-tournament all-time earnings). It was noted by eventual world champion John Higgins, amongst others, in his victory speech, that Selby was the most improved player on the tour.[17] These performances in the 2006/07 season earned Selby a place in the top 16 for the very first time for the 2007/08 season, where he was ranked 11th.[18]

Selby's wins over Lee, Ebdon, Carter and Murphy at the 2007 World Championships also won him the inaugural 888.com Silver Chip award for outstanding performance, awarded by the Snooker Writers' Association at the post-championship ball.[19]

After a moderate start to the season, Selby had a strong run in the second most important professional snooker championship, the United Kingdom Championship, reaching the semi-finals of the event. He led eventual winner Ronnie O'Sullivan 7–5, fell 7–8 behind, before levelling the match at 8–8. In the deciding frame, however, O'Sullivan made a 147 break to win 9–8.[20]

On 20 January 2008, Selby won his first major tournament – the Saga Insurance Masters at Wembley. En route to the final, he had edged out Stephen Hendry, Stephen Maguire and Ken Doherty, all on a 6–5 scoreline (and, in the first two cases, having been 5–3 behind). In the final against Stephen Lee, after leading 5–3 at the break Selby took control and reeled off five consecutive frames (eight-in-a-row overall from 2–3 behind) to win convincingly 10–3. Selby's play in the final was of the highest standard, with four century breaks and two consecutive tons to cross the winning line. His final-frame effort, a total clearance of 141, equalled the tournament's highest break and was Selby's best in competitive play.[21]

On 17 February 2008, he won a close-fought Welsh Open final, overcoming Ronnie O'Sullivan 9–8 from 5–8 down.[22] However, he could not reproduce his Crucible success from the previous season. Despite going into the World Championships as one of the bookmakers' favourites for the title, Selby was defeated 10–8 in the first round by Mark King.

The following year in the Welsh Open quarter-final, he was handed a writ by a member of the audience, supposedly his former manager George Barmby.[23] Selby reached the final of the Masters again where he was runner-up to Ronnie O'Sullivan, and also reached the quarter-finals of the 2009 World Championship, losing 12–13 to Higgins, who again went on to win the title.

He opened the 2009/10 season with two first round defeats, before coming from 4–8 down to beat Jamie Cope 9–8 in the first round of the UK Championship, scoring 6 breaks over 40 in those five frames.

On 17 January 2010, Selby won his second Masters title after reaching the final for the third time in as many years in a repeat of the previous year's final, where he lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan took a commanding lead at 9–6 leaving him just one frame from victory, but Selby played some of his best snooker of the season to overcome the three-frame deficit, taking the championship 10–9 and the £150,000 winner's cheque.[24]

At the 2011 China Open, Selby beat Tian Pengfei, Robert Milkins, Ali Carter, and home favourite Ding Junhui, but was defeated 8–10 by Judd Trump in the final.

At the 2011 World Championship, Selby set the record for the most century breaks compiled in a world championship match when he made six in his second round tie with Stephen Hendry.[25] It was also a record for a best-of-25 match and took Selby's century tally for the season to 54, setting a new record for the most centuries compiled in a season.[26]

2011/2012[edit]

Selby's 2011/2012 season began by winning the non-ranking Wuxi Classic with a 9–7 victory over Ali Carter.[27] He continued his form at the Shanghai Masters where he won his second major ranking event by defeating Mark Williams 10–9 in the final, having trailed 9–7.[28] The win also meant Selby usurped Williams as the world number one, making him the ninth player to hold the top spot and the first to do so without having previously won the World Championship.[29] He also won the minor-ranking PTC Event 4 (also known as the Paul Hunter Classic) with a 4–0 whitewash over Mark Davis, having edged out Ronnie O'Sullivan 4–3 in the semi-finals.[30] Selby would later finish 5th on the Order of Merit and therefore qualified to the last 16 of the Finals.[31] He beat Ding Junhui in the Finals in Galway before losing 0–4 to eventual winner Stephen Lee in the quarter-finals.[32]

Selby reached the quarter-finals of the German Masters and then got to the final of the Welsh Open, where he lost 6–9 to Ding.[33] Another semi-final followed in the World Open and despite seeing a 5–2 lead slip to a 5–6 defeat against Mark Allen, he looked to be in form at just the right time in the season.[34]

However, Selby was forced to withdraw from the second round of the China Open with a neck injury.[35] His withdrawal was also a precautionary measure to be ready for the upcoming World Championship, which Selby declared himself fit for the week before the event.[36] He played Barry Hawkins in the first round and was beaten 3–10. After the match Selby admitted he had only managed nine hours of practice in the lead up and that there were certain shots he was physically unable to play.[37] Despite the disappointing end to the season Selby was guaranteed to end it ranked number one following Judd Trump's early exit from the tournament.[38]

Mark Selby with the 2012 Paul Hunter Classic trophy

2012/2013[edit]

Selby announced he was 90% fit just before the start of the 2012/2013 season as he continued his recovery from the disc bulge in his neck.[39] His first event was the Wuxi Classic where, ironically, he played Hawkins in the last 32. Selby this time won 5–2 and then breezed past Jamie Cope 5–0 to set up a quarter-final match with in-form Stuart Bingham, which Selby lost 4–5.[40][41] Selby then won seven matches in a row in reaching the quarter-finals of the Six-red World Championship, but there he lost 5–7 by Judd Trump.[40] He then suffered a shock 3–5 first round defeat to Jamie Burnett in the Australian Goldfields Open.[42][43]

Selby lost his world number one spot to Judd Trump after the latter's victory in the inaugural International Championship in China. However, just five weeks later, Selby won his third ranking title and largest of his career, the UK Championship, to regain the top spot. He defeated Michael White 6–3, Ryan Day 6–4 from 3–0 down, and Neil Robertson 6–4 from 4–0 down to reach the semi-finals, where he beat Mark Davis 9–4 to progress to the final. Already assured of overtaking Trump regardless of the result, Selby beat his good friend Shaun Murphy 10–6 to win the tournament.[44]

Selby also participated at the Players Tour Championship. He successfully defended his Paul Hunter Classic title with a 4–1 win over Joe Swail in the final.[45] He then lost in the final of the Antwerp Open 1–4 against Mark Allen,[46] and won the Munich Open by defeating Graeme Dott 3–4 in the final.[47] He then finished number one on the Order of Merit,[48] and qualified for the Finals, where he lost 3–4 against Jack Lisowski.[49]

Mark Selby at the 2013 German Masters.

Selby then went on to win his third Masters title, beating Stuart Bingham 6–5 from 5–1 behind in the first round, Mark Williams 6–1 in the quarter-finals, and Graeme Dott 6–5 from 4–1 and 5–4 down in the semi-finals. He then defeated defending champion Neil Robertson 10–6 in the final.[50] He reached the quarter-finals of the German Masters, but lost 1–5 against Barry Hawkins.[51] He lost in the last 32 of the Welsh Open 0–4 against Joe Perry,[52] and lost his number one position to Trump.[53] Selby then reached the quarter-finals of the World Open, but lost 3–5 against Neil Robertson.[54]

At the China Open, Selby became only the fourth player in history to miss the final black on a 147 attempt, and only the second – after Ken Doherty – to do so in a televised match, in a 5–1 defeat of Mark King.[55][56] He then reached the final by defeating Ricky Walden 5–2, Mark Williams 5–1 and Murphy 6–2, but lost 6–10 against Neil Robertson.[57] After the event he regained the number one spot from Trump. He finished off the season at the 2013 World Snooker Championship, where he beat Matthew Selt in the first round before losing to eventual runner up Barry Hawkins in the second round.

2013/2014[edit]

Selby's 2013/2014 season began with a shock 3–5 defeat to Andrew Pagett in the qualifying rounds of the 2013 Wuxi Classic.[58] The tournament was the first to use a new format that required top-16 players to compete in qualifiers. In minor-ranking tournaments, Selby was runner-up in the Yixing Open, where he lost 1–4 to Joe Perry,[59] and the Rotterdam Open, where he lost 3–4 to Mark Williams.[60] He won the Antwerp Open, defeating Ronnie O'Sullivan 4–3 in the final.[61]

In December, in the seventh frame of his UK Championship semi-final against Ricky Walden, Selby compiled snooker's 100th officially recognised maximum break in professional competition.[62] He received £55,000 for the achievement, in addition to the tournament's highest break prize of £4,000.[63] The next day, he lost 7–10 to Neil Robertson in the final, having led 5-1 and 6-3.[64]

In the Masters, Selby began his title defence by beating Mark Davis in the first round and John Higgins in the quarter-finals, winning both matches by a scoreline of 6–5 and extending his unbeaten record in deciding frames at the Masters to 11.[65][66] He defeated Shaun Murphy 6–1 in the semi-finals to reach the final against Ronnie O'Sullivan.[67] Selby fell 1–7 behind in the first session of the final and went on to lose the final 4–10, receiving the runner-up prize of £90,000.[68] In the World Open, Selby defeated Alan McManus 5–1 in the quarter-finals and Marco Fu 6–4 in the semi-finals, but lost 6–10 in the final to Shaun Murphy.[69]

At the World Championship, Selby beat Michael White 10–9, Ali Carter 13–9, and Alan McManus 13–5 to reach his first semi-final at the Crucible since 2010.[70] He played world number one Neil Robertson in a repeat of the UK Championship final, and this time came out a 17–15 winner in a match described by commentators as one of the best matches ever played in the tournament's history, to reach his second world championship final and first for seven years.[71] Selby played Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final, who previously had won all five of his finals and was the two-time defending champion. O'Sullivan led 3–0, 8–3, and 10–5, but Selby then won six frames in a row to lead for the first time and went on to seal an 18–14 victory for his first world championship title.[72][73] With the victory, Selby became the ninth player to win the Triple Crown of World, UK and Masters titles (and second of the season after Robertson), and also the twelfth player to win the World and UK Championship double in their career.[74] In winning the world title, Selby also retook the world number one spot.[75]

Life outside snooker[edit]

He is a fan of Leicester City F.C., whom he has supported since childhood.[76] His world championship victory came on the same day as City celebrated their promotion to the Premier League with an open-top bus parade.

In July 2006, he won the WEPF World Eight-ball Championship, beating Darren Appleton 11–7 in the final at Blackpool.[77] He is also known to be a fan of darts, beating Eric Bristow in an exhibition leg of 301 in 2007, and taking on Raymond van Barneveld in exhibition matches.[78][79]

Mark's wife Vikki Layton, who often attends his major matches, is a former Irish international pool player.[80][81] They announced their engagement in August 2010,[82] and were married in Mexico on 24 May 2011.[83] In May 2014, the couple announced that they were expecting their first child.[80]

Performance and rankings timeline[edit]

Tournament 1999/
00
2000/
01
2001/
02
2002/
03
2003/
04
2004/
05
2005/
06
2006/
07
2007/
08
2008/
09
2009/
10
2010/
11
2011/
12
2012/
13
2013/
14
2014/
15
Ranking[84][nb 1] UR[nb 2] 122 95 53 29 36 39 28 11 4 7 9 3 1 1 1
Ranking tournaments
Wuxi Classic[nb 3] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking QF LQ 2R
Australian Goldfields Open Tournament Not Held QF 1R SF A
Shanghai Masters Tournament Not Held SF SF 1R SF W 1R QF
Indian Open Tournament Not Held 2R
International Championship Tournament Not Held 2R QF
UK Championship 3R 2R LQ 2R 1R 2R LQ 2R SF 1R QF 2R 2R W F
World Open[nb 4] 3R LQ LQ LQ 1R QF 1R 2R RR 2R 1R LQ SF QF F
German Masters Tournament Not Held F QF QF 2R
Welsh Open LQ LQ 1R 1R 2R LQ 3R 3R W QF QF SF F 1R QF
Players Championship Grand Final[nb 5] Tournament Not Held SF QF 1R 1R
China Open LQ LQ SF Not Held LQ 1R 2R SF 2R 2R F WD F QF
World Championship LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ 1R 2R F 1R QF SF QF 1R 2R W
Non-ranking tournaments
Champion of Champions Tournament Not Held SF
The Masters LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ A LQ LQ W F W 1R QF W F
Championship League Tournament Not Held F F RR 2R RR RR RR
Variant format tournaments
Six-red World Championship[nb 6] Tournament Not Held 1R A W NH QF SF
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held 3R 2R 2R 1R
Former ranking tournaments
Malta Grand Prix LQ NR Tournament Not Held
Thailand Masters LQ LQ LQ NR Not Held NR Tournament Not Held
Scottish Open[nb 7] 1R LQ 1R F 1R Tournament Not Held MR Not Held
British Open 3R LQ LQ LQ 1R 1R Tournament Not Held
Irish Masters Non-Ranking 1R 1R 1R NH NR Tournament Not Held
Malta Cup[nb 8] Not Held LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ NR Tournament Not Held
Northern Ireland Trophy Tournament Not Held NR 3R 2R 3R Tournament Not Held
Former non-ranking tournaments
Malta Cup[nb 8] Not Held Ranking Event RR Tournament Not Held
Wuxi Classic[nb 3] Tournament Not Held F RR 1R W Ranking Event
Brazil Masters Tournament Not Held QF Not Held
Premier League A A A A A A A A A F A RR A RR Not Held
Performance Table Legend
LQ lost in the qualifying draw #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QF lost in the quarter-finals
SF lost in the semi-finals F lost in the final W won the tournament
DNQ did not qualify for the tournament A did not participate in the tournament WD withdrew from the tournament
NH / Not Held means an event was not held.
NR / Non-Ranking Event means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.
R / Ranking Event means an event is/was a ranking event.
MR / Minor-Ranking Event means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.
  1. ^ From the 2010/2011 season it shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
  2. ^ New players on the Main Tour don't have a ranking.
  3. ^ a b The event was called the Jiangsu Classic (2008/2009–2009/2010)
  4. ^ The event was called the Grand Prix (1999/2000–2000/2001 and 2004/2005–2009/2010) and the LG Cup (2001/2002–2003/2004)
  5. ^ The event was called the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2010/2011–2012/2013)
  6. ^ The event was called the Six-red Snooker International (2008/2009) and the Six-red World Grand Prix (2009/2010)
  7. ^ The event was called the Players Championship (2003/2004)
  8. ^ a b The event was called the European Open (2001/2002-2003/2004)

Career finals[edit]

Ranking event finals: 12 (4 titles, 8 runner-ups)[edit]

Legend
World Championship (1–1)
UK Championship (1–1)
Other (2–6)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 2003 Scottish Open England Gray, DavidDavid Gray 7–9
Runner-up 2. 2007 World Snooker Championship Scotland Higgins, JohnJohn Higgins 13–18
Winner 1. 2008 Welsh Open England O'Sullivan, RonnieRonnie O'Sullivan 9–8
Runner-up 3. 2011 German Masters Wales Williams, MarkMark Williams 7–9
Runner-up 4. 2011 China Open England Trump, JuddJudd Trump 8–10
Winner 2. 2011 Shanghai Masters Wales Williams, MarkMark Williams 10–9
Runner-up 5. 2012 Welsh Open China Ding Junhui 6–9
Winner 3. 2012 UK Championship England Murphy, ShaunShaun Murphy 10–6
Runner-up 6. 2013 China Open (2) Australia Robertson, NeilNeil Robertson 6–10
Runner-up 7. 2013 UK Championship Australia Robertson, NeilNeil Robertson 7–10
Runner-up 8. 2014 World Open England Murphy, ShaunShaun Murphy 6–10
Winner 4. 2014 World Snooker Championship England O'Sullivan, RonnieRonnie O'Sullivan 18–14

Minor-ranking finals: 8 (5 titles, 3 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2010 Players Tour Championship – Event 2 England Pinches, BarryBarry Pinches 4–3
Winner 2. 2011 Paul Hunter Classic England Davis, MarkMark Davis 4–0
Winner 3. 2012 Paul Hunter Classic (2) Northern Ireland Swail, JoeJoe Swail 4–1
Runner-up 1. 2012 Antwerp Open Northern Ireland Allen, MarkMark Allen 1–4
Winner 4. 2013 FFB Open Scotland Dott, GraemeGraeme Dott 4–3
Runner-up 2. 2013 Yixing Open England Perry, JoeJoe Perry 1–4
Runner-up 3. 2013 Rotterdam Open Wales Williams, MarkMark Williams 3–4
Winner 5. 2013 Antwerp Open England O'Sullivan, RonnieRonnie O'Sullivan 4–3

Non-ranking event finals: 11 (4 titles, 7 runner-ups)[edit]

Legend
Masters (3–2)
Premier League (0–1)
Other (1–4)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 2006 Masters Qualifying Event England Bingham, StuartStuart Bingham 2–6
Winner 1. 2008 The Masters England Lee, StephenStephen Lee 10–3
Runner-up 2. 2008 Championship League England Perry, JoeJoe Perry 1–3
Runner-up 3. 2008 Jiangsu Classic China Ding Junhui 5–6
Runner-up 4. 2008 Premier League Snooker England O'Sullivan, RonnieRonnie O'Sullivan 2–7
Runner-up 5. 2009 The Masters England O'Sullivan, RonnieRonnie O'Sullivan 8–10
Runner-up 6. 2009 Championship League (2) England Trump, JuddJudd Trump 2–3
Winner 2. 2010 The Masters (2) England O'Sullivan, RonnieRonnie O'Sullivan 10–9
Winner 3. 2011 Wuxi Classic England Carter, AliAli Carter 9–7
Winner 4. 2013 The Masters (3) Australia Robertson, NeilNeil Robertson 10–6
Runner-up 7. 2014 The Masters (2) England O'Sullivan, RonnieRonnie O'Sullivan 4–10

Pro-am tournaments[edit]

References[edit]

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