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Mark Selby

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Mark Selby
Mark Selby PHC 2016.jpg
Born (1983-06-19) 19 June 1983 (age 37)
Leicester, England
Sport country England
NicknameThe Jester from Leicester
Professional1999–
Highest ranking1 (Sep 2011 – Nov 2012;
Dec 2012 – Feb 2013;
Apr–Jun 2013; May–Jul 2014; Aug–Dec 2014; Feb 2015 – Mar 2019)
Current ranking 5 (as of 23 November 2020)
Career winnings£5,907,434
Highest break147 (3 times)[1]
Century breaks630 (as of 1 October 2020)[2]
Tournament wins
Ranking18
Minor-ranking7
Non-ranking8
World Champion

Mark Selby (born 19 June 1983) is an English professional snooker player and three-time World Snooker Champion. He has won 18 ranking titles, placing him joint seventh (with Neil Robertson) on the all-time list of ranking tournament wins. He has held the world number one position six times, having first topped the snooker world rankings in September 2011, and was ranked world number one for more than four years continuously between February 2015 and March 2019.

Selby joined the main professional snooker tour in 1999 at the age of 16, after winning the England under-15 championship in 1998. He was runner-up to John Higgins at the 2007 World Snooker Championship, and has since won all of snooker's Triple Crown events at least twice, having won three Masters titles (2008, 2010, and 2013), two UK Championships (2012 and 2016), and three World Championships (2014, 2016, and 2017). He has also won the Welsh Open, the Shanghai Masters, the German Masters, the China Open (three times), the Paul Hunter Classic, the International Championship (twice), the China Championship, the European Masters, and three of the four Home Nations Series events.

A prolific break-builder, Selby has compiled more than 600 century breaks in his professional career. His nickname, "The Jester from Leicester", was given to him by snooker compere Richard Beare. Selby is also a pool player; he was the 2006 World Eight-ball Pool Federation champion and runner-up at the Chinese Eight-ball World Championship in 2015.

Early life[edit]

Selby was born in Leicester, England, on 19 June 1983.[3][4] He began playing pool at the age of eight and snooker aged nine.[5] Malcolm Thorne, the brother of Leicester-born snooker player Willie Thorne, spotted Selby's snooker ability and offered him free practice at his brother's snooker club, which Selby took full advantage of, practising in the evenings after school.[5][6] When Selby was 16, his father David died of cancer.[6] Two months later, Selby joined the main professional tour,[7][8] having left school with no qualifications.[6]

Snooker career[edit]

1998–2007[edit]

A winner of the England under-15 championship in 1998,[3] Selby joined the professional tour a year later at the age of 16 in 1999.[7][9] In early 2002, he reached the semi-finals of the China Open, despite leaving his hotel room at 2 a.m. instead of 2 p.m. for one of his matches because of jetlag.[10] In April 2003, aged 19, he reached his first ranking final at the Scottish Open, where he finished runner-up to David Gray who won 9–7.[11] He progressed to the final round of qualifying at the World Snooker Championships in both 2002 and 2003, but failed to qualify for the knockout stages at the Crucible Theatre on both occasions.[12][13]

From late 2005, Selby was managed by former snooker professional and fellow Leicester resident Mukesh Parmar.[9] He progressed to the main draw of the 2005 World Championship, losing 5–10 to John Higgins in the first round.[14] He then faced Higgins in the first round again at the 2006 World Championship, this time defeating the reigning Grand Prix and Masters champion 10–4,[15] before being eliminated in the second round by Mark Williams.[16]

Selby reached the final of the 2007 World Championship, where he was defeated 13–18 by Higgins.[17] He beat Stephen Lee 10–7 in the first round, after winning eight successive frames from 0–5 behind to lead 8–5.[18] He defeated former World Champion Peter Ebdon 13–8 in the second round, with five centuries (three of them consecutive) to reach the quarter-finals,[19] where he beat Ali Carter 13–12, from 11–8 ahead and 11–12 behind, in a third-round match that lasted well over nine hours.[20] He won his semi-final match 17–16 against Shaun Murphy, after trailing 14–16, in another deciding frame that he took with a 64 break.[21] John Higgins led 12–4 after the second session of the final, but Selby won all six frames played in the third session on Monday afternoon before time ran out due to the length of the frames; he was therefore only 10–12 behind entering the final session, and closed to within one frame at 13–14 before eventually losing the match.[17]

Higgins pointed out in his victory speech that Selby was "the most improved player on the tour".[22] Selby's performance in the 2006–07 season earned him a place in the top 16 for the first time for the 2007–08 season,[23] where he was ranked 11th.[3] His victories over Lee, Ebdon, Carter, and Murphy at the 2007 World Championship also won Selby the inaugural 888.com Silver Chip award for outstanding performance, awarded by the Snooker Writers' Association.[24][25]

He had a strong run in the 2007 UK Championship, reaching the semi-finals where he met the eventual winner of the event, Ronnie O'Sullivan. Selby led 7–5, but fell 7–8 behind before levelling the match at 8–8; however, O'Sullivan made a 147 break in the deciding frame to win the match 9–8.[26]

2008–2011[edit]

Selby at the 2008 World Series of Snooker in Moscow

On 20 January 2008, Selby won his first major tournament: the Masters, held at Wembley in London. En route to the final, he had edged out Stephen Hendry, Stephen Maguire and Ken Doherty, all on a 6–5 scoreline.[27][28] 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 achieve a decisive 10–3 victory. He produced a high standard of play in the final, compiling four century breaks in total; his final-frame effort, a total clearance of 141, equalled the highest break of the tournament.[29]

Selby claimed his first world ranking title at the Welsh Open on 17 February 2008, winning a close-fought final 9–8 against O'Sullivan after recovering from 5–8 behind.[30] However, he could not reproduce his Crucible success from the previous season; despite going into the 2008 World Championship as one of the bookmakers' favourites for the title, Selby was defeated 8–10 in the first round by Mark King.[31]

In the Welsh Open quarter-finals the following year, he was handed a writ by a member of the audience, supposedly his former manager George Barmby.[32] Selby commented that all he could think about was the envelope that had been given to him before he was defeated 3–5 by Anthony Hamilton.[33] He reached the final of the Masters again where he was runner-up to O'Sullivan, losing the match 8–10 after leading 7–5,[34] and also reached the quarter-finals of the 2009 World Championship, losing 12–13 to Higgins, who went on to win his third world title.[35]

Selby recovered from 4–8 behind to beat Jamie Cope 9–8 in the first round of the 2009 UK Championship,[36] but lost in the quarter-finals 3–9 to O'Sullivan.[37] On 17 January 2010, he 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 had lost to O'Sullivan. This time, although O'Sullivan took a commanding lead at 9–6, leaving himself one frame from victory, Selby took the next four frames to win the championship 10–9.[38] Selby came within reach of his second World Championship final in 2010, losing in the semi-finals 14–17 to Graeme Dott, despite pulling up to 10–11 and 13–14.[39]

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.[40] At the 2011 World Championship, he set the record for the most century breaks compiled in a world championship match when he made six in his second-round tie with Hendry.[41] This was also a record for a best-of-25-frames match and took Selby's century tally for the season to 54, setting a new record for the most centuries compiled by one player in a single season.[42]

2011–12 season[edit]

Selby started the season by winning the non-ranking Wuxi Classic with a 9–7 victory over Ali Carter.[43] He won his second ranking event at the Shanghai Masters, where he defeated Mark Williams 10–9 in the final, winning the last three frames from 7–9 behind.[44] Selby's victory also meant that he usurped Williams as the world number one.[45]

He also won the minor-ranking PTC Event 4 (the 2011 edition of the Paul Hunter Classic); having edged out Ronnie O'Sullivan 4–3 in the semi-finals, he achieved a 4–0 whitewash over Mark Davis in the final.[46] Selby eventually finished fifth on the PTC Order of Merit and therefore qualified to the last 16 of the PTC Grand Final.[47] He beat Ding Junhui 4–1, before losing 0–4 to eventual winner Stephen Lee in the quarter-finals.[48]

Selby progressed to the quarter-finals of the Masters in January, where he lost 2–6 to Shaun Murphy;[49] he was defeated by Murphy again the following month, in the quarter-finals of the German Masters, losing the match 3–5.[49][50] After reaching the final of the Welsh Open, where he lost 6–9 to Ding,[51] he met Murphy for the third time in the space of less than six weeks, in the quarter-finals of the World Open, this time achieving a 5–0 whitewash.[49] However, he then suffered a 5–6 semi-final defeat against Mark Allen, despite having built up a 5–2 lead.[52]

Selby withdrew from the second round of the China Open because of a neck injury.[53] His decision to withdraw was also a precautionary measure to make sure he was ready for the upcoming World Championship.[53] He played Barry Hawkins in the first round and was defeated 3–10. After the match, Selby admitted that he had only managed nine hours of practice in preparation for the tournament and there were certain shots that he was physically unable to play.[54] Despite this disappointment, he finished the season still as world number one.[55]

2012–13 season[edit]

Selby with the 2012 Paul Hunter Classic trophy

Selby announced he felt "90 per cent fit" just before the start of the season, as he continued his recovery from the disc bulge in his neck.[56] His first event was the Wuxi Classic where he played Barry Hawkins in the last 32; having been eliminated from the World Championship by Hawkins two months earlier, Selby this time won 5–2, and then whitewashed Jamie Cope 5–0 to set up a quarter-final match with in-form Stuart Bingham, but lost in the deciding frame 4–5.[57][58] He won seven matches in a row to reach the quarter-finals of the Six-red World Championship, where he was defeated 5–7 by Judd Trump.[57] He then suffered a shock 3–5 first-round defeat to Jamie Burnett in the Australian Goldfields Open.[59][60]

Selby lost his world number one ranking on 2 November 2012, when Trump claimed the top spot by reaching the final of the inaugural International Championship in China.[61] However, just five weeks later, Selby regained the top ranking position by winning the UK Championship, for his third ranking title and most significant of his career to that date.[62] He defeated Michael White 6–3, Ryan Day 6–4 after trailing 0–3, and Neil Robertson 6–4 from 0–4 behind, to reach the semi-finals. He then defeated Mark Davis 9–4 to progress to the final,[63] where he beat Shaun Murphy 10–6 to win the tournament.[64]

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.[65] He then lost in the final of the Antwerp Open 1–4 against Mark Allen,[66] and won the Munich Open by defeating Graeme Dott 3–4 in the final.[67] He then finished number one on the Order of Merit,[68] and qualified for the Finals, where he lost 3–4 against Jack Lisowski.[69]

Selby at the 2013 German Masters

Selby then won his third Masters title, beating Bingham 6–5 from 1–5 behind in the first round, Mark Williams 6–1 in the quarter-finals, and Dott 6–5 from 1–4 behind in the semi-finals.[70] He then defeated defending champion Neil Robertson 10–6 in the final.[71] He reached the quarter-finals of the German Masters, but lost 1–5 against Hawkins.[72] He lost in the last 32 of the Welsh Open 0–4 against Joe Perry,[73] and lost his number one position to Trump.[74] Selby then reached the quarter-finals of the World Open, but lost 3–5 against Robertson.[75]

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.[76][77] He then reached the final by defeating Ricky Walden 5–2, Williams 5–1 and Murphy 6–2, but lost 6–10 against Robertson.[78] After the event he regained the number one spot from Trump. He finished off the season at the World Championship, where he beat Matthew Selt 10–4 in the first round,[79] before losing 10–13 to Hawkins in the second round.[80]

2013–14 season[edit]

In the first ranking event of the season, Selby was subjected to a 3–5 defeat to Andrew Pagett in the qualifying rounds of the Wuxi Classic in China.[81] The tournament was the first to use a new format requiring the top 16 players to compete in the qualifying rounds at most ranking events.[81][82] In minor-ranking tournaments, he was runner-up at the Yixing Open, losing 1–4 to Joe Perry,[83] and at the Rotterdam Open, where he lost 3–4 to Mark Williams.[84] He won the Antwerp Open in November, defeating Ronnie O'Sullivan 4–3 in the final.[85]

Having won the UK Championship and Masters in the previous season, Selby qualified to take part in the first edition of the revived Champion of Champions competition,[86] where he lost to Stuart Bingham in the semi-finals 4–6.[87] Defending his title at the UK Championship in December, Selby compiled snooker's 100th officially recognised maximum break in professional competition, in the seventh frame of his semi-final against Ricky Walden.[1] He received £55,000 for the achievement, in addition to the tournament's highest break prize of £4,000.[88] The next day, he lost 7–10 to world number one Neil Robertson in the final, having been ahead 5–1 and 6–3, missing his chance to regain the top position in the world rankings.[89]

He began the defence of his title at the Masters by defeating Mark Davis in the first round and John Higgins in the quarter-finals, winning both matches 6–5 and extending his unbeaten record in deciding frames at the Masters to 11.[90][91] He then beat Shaun Murphy 6–1 in the semi-finals to reach the final against O'Sullivan.[92] After falling behind 1–7 in the first session, Selby lost the final 4–10, receiving the runner-up prize of £90,000.[93] At the German Masters two weeks later, he was eliminated in the second round by Kurt Maflin 5–3.[94] He defeated Alan McManus 5–1 in the quarter-finals of the World Open, and Marco Fu 6–4 in the semi-finals, but lost 6–10 in the final to Murphy.[95][96]

At the World Championship, Selby defeated Michael White 10–9, Ali Carter 13–9, and McManus 13–5 to reach his first semi-final at the Crucible since 2010,[97][98] where he met Robertson in a repeat of the UK Championship final five months earlier. This time Selby achieved a 17–15 victory to reach his second World Championship final and first for seven years.[99] His opponent in the final was defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, who had held the world title for the past two years and had won all five of his previous world finals.[100][101] Selby appeared "jaded" on the first day after a tough semi-final battle with Robertson the day before.[102] 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, eventually sealing an 18–14 victory for his first world title.[101][103] He dedicated the win to his late father who had died when Selby was 16.[5][102] With his World Championship victory, Selby became the ninth player to win snooker's Triple Crown of World, UK and Masters titles;[6][102] he also returned to the world number one position.[104]

2014–15 season[edit]

Selby with 2015 German Masters trophy

At the first ranking event of the season, the Wuxi Classic, Selby lost 3–5 to Liang Wenbo in the last 32.[105] He won the minor-ranking Riga Open in August, defeating Mark Allen 4–3 in the final,[106] but was defeated by Allen the following month in a final-frame decider in the semi-finals of the ranking Shanghai Masters tournament.[107] He made an unexpected early exit from the ranking International Championship, when he was eliminated in the last 128 by 19-year-old tour rookie Oliver Lines, who had recovered from 0–4 behind to defeat him 6–4.[108] Selby reached the quarter-finals of the invitational Champion of Champions tournament in November, but lost 1–6 against Judd Trump.[109] He had a disappointing run at the UK Championship, losing 4–6 to David Morris in the last 64.[110]

In his first-round encounter with Shaun Murphy at the Masters in January, Selby fell 1–5 behind before recovering to draw level at 5–5, but then lost the match in the deciding frame. This was the first time he had ever lost a deciding frame at the Masters, having won the match 6–5 on all 11 previous occasions.[91][111] The following month, Selby won his fifth ranking title at the German Masters.[112] He defeated Trump 5–4 in the quarter-finals, despite Trump making his second career 147 in the fifth frame of the match; this was the fifth time that Selby had witnessed an opponent completing a maximum against him (including both of Trump's), the most witnessed by any player.[113][114] In the final, he came from 2–5 down against Murphy to win 9–7 and claim the title.[115]

At the China Open in April, Selby became the first player to win a second ranking title in the 2014–15 season; after advancing to the final without meeting any player inside the world's top 16, he outplayed world number 56 Gary Wilson to win 10–2.[116] He then began his title defence at the World Championship, with no first-time world champion having successfully defended the title the following year, and no winner of the China Open having won the World Championship in the same season.[117] He led Kurt Maflin 8–4 in the first round, before Maflin won the next five frames to lead 9–8, but Selby took the 18th frame and the decider to win the match 10–9. His reign as World Champion ended in the second round, however, with a 9–13 defeat to Anthony McGill.[118][119] Despite this setback, he finished the season as world number one for the fourth year running.[120][121]

2015–16 season[edit]

At the 2015 International Championship, Selby reached the semi-finals but then lost 4–9 to John Higgins.[122] He did not drop a frame in reaching the third round of the UK Championship where he defeated Jamie Jones 6–5, later acknowledging that his opponent had deserved to win the match.[123] He then eliminated Dechawat Poomjaeng and Matthew Selt both 6–1, before being whitewashed 6–0 by Neil Robertson in the semi-finals.[124][125] In early 2016, Selby lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan in the quarter-finals of both the Masters and Welsh Open,[126][127] but won the Gdynia Open with a 4–1 victory over Martin Gould.[128]

In March, he withdrew from the PTC Finals and China Open for personal reasons.[129] Returning to the tour at the World Championship in April, he beat Robert Milkins 10–6, Sam Baird 13–11, and Kyren Wilson 13–8, to face Marco Fu in the semi-finals.[130] Selby drew level at 12–12 after winning a 76-minute frame, the longest in Crucible history, and won the match 17–15 with a successful snooker on the brown ball in the final frame.[131] He took an early 6–0 lead over Ding Junhui in the final, eventually winning the match 18–14 to claim his second world title. With his World Championship victory, Selby finished at number one in the world rankings for the fifth consecutive year.[121]

2016–17 season[edit]

Selby at 2016 European Masters in Bucharest, Romania

Selby won his first ranking title of the season at the Paul Hunter Classic, beating Tom Ford 4–2 in the final.[132] His semi-final against Stuart Bingham at the Shanghai Masters in September, was a meeting between the top-two ranked players in the world, Selby winning 6–5, having trailed 3–5.[133] After taking an early 3–1 advantage over Ding Junhui in the final, he eventually lost the match 6–10.[134] The following month, he was defeated 2–6 by Judd Trump in the semi-finals of the European Masters.[135] He then won 9–3 in another semi-final encounter with Bingham, to reach the final of the International Championship in Daqing, China, winning the event for the first time by overcoming Ding 10–1; Selby dominated their encounter, winning all of the last seven frames, in the most one-sided ranking event final since the 2012 World Open when Mark Allen had defeated Stephen Lee by the same scoreline. Selby made seven 50+ breaks, while Ding's highest was just 47.[136]

At the UK Championship, he defeated John Higgins 6–5 in a high-quality quarter-final match that lasted five hours; Selby won on the colours in the deciding frame.[137] After despatching Shaun Murphy 6–2 in the semi-finals,[138] he developed a 7–2 advantage over Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final of the event, which decreased to 7–4, followed by four breaks of 130 or more over the next five frames—two by each player—bringing the score to 9–7 in Selby's favour. He finished the match with a 107 break to claim his second UK title, completing the second Triple Crown of his career.[139] After failing to progress to the semi-final stage of any of the next seven tournaments, he made it through to the final of the China Open in April, where he took the final three frames against Mark Williams to win 10–8 and claim his fourth ranking title of the season.[140]

In the quarter-finals of the World Championship, he defeated Marco Fu 13–3 with a session to spare.[141] He faced Ding in the semi-finals, taking a 16–13 lead before Ding closed the gap to 16–15; Selby then won the 32nd frame to reach his third world final in four years.[142] He fell behind 4–10 against John Higgins in the final, before recovering to win 12 out of the next 14 frames, eventually closing out the match 18–15 to win his third World Championship, becoming the fourth player—after Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan—to retain the world title at the Crucible. This was Selby's fifth ranking title of the season, tying him with Hendry and Ding as the only players to have won five ranking events in a single season.[143] Selby earned £932,000 during the 2016–17 season, a record amount of prize money for any one season.[143]

2017–18 season[edit]

In the 2017–18 snooker season, Selby was eliminated in the first round of the Hong Kong Masters after a 3–5 defeat to eventual champion Neil Robertson.[144] His first ranking tournament of the season was the China Championship where he was defeated 4–5 by Zhou Yuelong in the second round.[145] He failed to progress past the fourth round of the Paul Hunter Classic in defence of his title, losing 1–4 to eventual champion Michael White.[146] He was defeated 2–5 by Lee Walker in the first round of the World Open,[147] followed by a 2–4 defeat to Stuart Bingham in the quarter-finals of the European Masters,[148] and a third round exit at the English Open where he lost 1–4 to Xiao Guodong.[149]

Selby successfully defended his International Championship title in November, to claim his first ranking title of the season. After surviving a fightback from Mark Allen, who trailed 3–8 and 7–9 in the final, Selby prevailed 10–7.[150][151] As reigning World Snooker Champion, he qualified automatically for the 2017 Champion of Champions, but was defeated 4–6 in the quarter-finals by Luca Brecel.[152] Defending his title at the UK Championship, he was eliminated 3–6 by Scott Donaldson in the last 64.[153]

In January, he played Mark Williams in the first round of the Masters, in a repeat of the previous year's event, where Selby had won their first-round encounter 6–5. However, this time the finishing score line was reversed as Selby lost the deciding frame 5–6.[154] He retained his China Open championship in April, defeating Barry Hawkins 11–3 in the final. This was Selby's third China Open title in four years.[155] Later that month, his two-year reign as World Champion ended in the first round of the World Championship, where he fell to Joe Perry 4–10, unable to recover from a 2–7 deficit in the first session. In winning the match, Perry became the first player to beat Selby at the World Championship since Anthony McGill had defeated him in the second round in 2015.[156] Despite this disappointment, Selby still finished the season as world number one.[157]

2018–19 season[edit]

At the World Open in August, Selby lost 4–5 to world number 53 Noppon Saengkham in the last 16, losing the deciding frame by just three points.[158] He won his 15th ranking title at the China Championship in September, defeating John Higgins 10–9 in a very close-fought final.[159] He reached the semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open in November, losing 5–6 to Ronnie O'Sullivan on the final black.[160] He faced disappointments in other tournaments, including an unexpected 3–6 loss to amateur James Cahill in the first round of the UK Championship.[161] At the 2019 Masters, he lost 2–6 to Judd Trump in a "nervy" quarter-final, despite making a 110 break in the seventh frame of the match.[162]

Selby lost the top ranking position to O'Sullivan on 24 March 2019,[163] having been world number one since February 2015.[164] O'Sullivan reclaimed the top spot by winning his 36th ranking title at the Tour Championship;[163] Selby had himself been eliminated in the first round by Neil Robertson in a final-frame decider, after squandering a four-frame lead.[165] He had an opportunity to regain the top spot at the China Open less than two weeks later, but lost 3–6 to Craig Steadman in the qualifying round which had been held over from the original qualification stage in February.[166] At the World Championship, Selby beat Zhao Xintong 10–7 in the first round before being defeated 10–13 by Gary Wilson in the second round.[167][168] As a result of this mediocre performance, he ended the season as world number six, having also been outranked by John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Mark Williams and Judd Trump.[169]

2019–20 season[edit]

In the 2019–20 season, Selby reached the semi-finals of the International Championship, losing 4–9 to Judd Trump,[170] and in defending his title at the China Championship, he lost 3–6 to Shaun Murphy, again in the semi-finals.[171] He defeated David Gilbert 9–1 in the final of the English Open to win the Steve Davis Trophy.[172] The following week, he lost 2–5 to Stuart Bingham in the last 16 of the World Open.[173] In the Champion of Champions, he fell short 2–6 to Mark Allen in the group final.[174] Despite recovering from 1–4 behind to tie at 4–4, he was defeated in the quarter-finals of the Northern Ireland Open by John Higgins.[175] He took more than six minutes to play one of his shots in the seventh frame of this match, leading to criticism from the Eurosport commentator Neal Foulds.[176] He won the Scottish Open in December, beating Jack Lisowski 9–6 in the final to pick up the Stephen Hendry Trophy. Having also won the English Open earlier in the season, he became the first player to win more than one tournament in the Home Nations Series in a single season.[177]

At the beginning of 2020, he lost in the first round of the Masters against Ali Carter in January,[178] and failed to qualify at the German Masters later the same month.[179] At the European Masters, he lost in the second round to Barry Hawkins; after losing the first four frames, he staged a comeback to level at 4–4 but then lost the deciding frame.[180] He qualified for the World Grand Prix, where he lost 3–4 to Xiao Guodong in the first round despite making two centuries.[181] In February, Selby reached the quarter-final stage of the last Home Nations event, the Welsh Open, where he was defeated 1–5 by Ronnie O'Sullivan.[182] He also qualified for the Players Championship, based on the one-year ranking list; in the first round, he whitewashed Mark Williams 6–0,[183] but was then knocked out in the quarter-finals by Stephen Maguire in a deciding frame 5–6.[184] In March, he also participated at the Gibraltar Open, but was eliminated in the third round by Lyu Haotian 1–4.[185]

After the prolonged break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Selby participated in the 2020 Championship League, going out of the tournament after the first group stage.[186] He qualified for the 2020 Tour Championship ranked third on the one-year ranking list.[187] He beat Yan Bingtao 9–6 in the quarter-finals before being defeated 2–9 by Mark Allen in the semi-finals.[188] [189] At the World Championship, Selby defeated debutant Jordan Brown 10–6 in the first round,[190] Noppon Saengkham 13–12 in the last 16,[191] and Neil Robertson 13–7 in the quarter-finals.[192] In the semi-final, he met Ronnie O'Sullivan, who took a 5–3 lead after the first session, but Selby won the second session to take a 9–7 lead.[193] During the third session, he established a 13–9 advantage before O'Sullivan won the last two frames of the session. Selby then took a 16–14 lead, leaving himself one frame away from his fifth World Championship final, but he lost the final three frames of the match. After the game, Selby accused his opponent of being "disrespectful" after O'Sullivan had played several hit-and-hope shots while being snookered.[194] Selby finished the season as world number four.[195]

2020–21 season[edit]

After the delayed start to the new season, Selby won his 18th ranking title at the 2020 European Masters in September, defeating Martin Gould 9–8 in the final.[196][197] The score was level at 4–4 by the end of the afternoon session, despite Selby taking an early 4–0 lead.[197] The two players were evenly matched throughout the evening session, but Selby eventually won the match in the final-frame decider with a break of 72.[196] The win moved Selby to joint sixth (alongside Neil Robertson) on the list of players with the most world ranking titles.[197]

In October, Selby participated at 2020 English open as a defending champion. [198] On his way to the defence the title, he got through Fan Zhengyi, Chang Bingyu, Liang Wenbo, Hossein Vafaei and Zhou Yuelong before losing 5-6 to Neil Robertson in the semi-final stage. [199] After this tournament, he has still kept number one spot in one-year ranking list [200] At a ranking Championship league 2020, Selby got through first two group stages.[201][202] In the third one, he lost 1-3 to Zhou Yuelong and 0-3 to Zhao Xintong. Despite beating Judd Trump 3-0, Selby finished on the bottom of the group. [203]

Personal life[edit]

Selby has been a fan of Leicester City F.C. since childhood.[204] His 2014 World Championship victory happened on the day that Leicester City celebrated their promotion to the Premier League with an open-top bus parade.[205] Two years later, he won his second world title just 13 minutes after the team sealed their first Premier League title.[121] Selby is also a fan of darts and has played in exhibition matches at Ibstock in Leicestershire, beating Eric Bristow in 2007 and taking on Raymond van Barneveld in 2009.[206]

Selby's wife Vikki Layton, who often attends his major matches, is a former Irish international pool player born in Ipswich.[207][208] They announced their engagement in August 2010,[209] and were married in Mexico in May 2011.[210] Their daughter Sofia was born in 2014.[211] They have a swimming pool at their home in Leicester, although Selby himself is a non-swimmer.[6] Selby's nickname is "The Jester from Leicester".[9][212] This name was given to him by snooker compere Richard Beare because Selby liked to have "a laugh and a joke" with him.[208]

Performance and rankings timeline[edit]

Below is a list of competition results for professional seasons starting from 1999.[213]

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
2015/
16
2016/
17
2017/
18
2018/
19
2019/
20
2020/
21
Ranking[214][nb 1] [nb 2] 122 95 53 29 36 39 28 11 4 7 9 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 6 4
Ranking tournaments
European Masters[nb 3] Not Held LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ NR Tournament Not Held SF QF 3R 2R W
English Open Tournament Not Held 2R 3R 2R W SF
Championship League Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event 3R
Northern Ireland Open Tournament Not Held A A SF QF 2R
UK Championship 1R LQ LQ 2R 1R 2R LQ 2R SF 1R QF 2R 2R W F 2R SF W 2R 1R 4R
Scottish Open[nb 4] LQ LQ 1R F 1R Tournament Not Held MR Not Held A A A W
World Grand Prix Tournament Not Held NR 1R 1R SF QF 1R
German Masters Tournament Not Held F QF QF 2R W 2R 2R 1R 2R LQ LQ
Gibraltar Open Tournament Not Held MR 3R A A 3R
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held Variant Format Event A A A 1R
Welsh Open LQ LQ 1R 1R 2R LQ 3R 3R W QF QF SF F 1R QF 4R QF 3R 2R 4R QF
Players Championship[nb 5] Tournament Not Held SF QF 1R 1R 2R WD QF 1R 1R QF
Tour Championship Tournament Not Held QF SF
World Championship LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ 1R 2R F 1R QF SF QF 1R 2R W 2R W W 1R 2R SF
Non-ranking tournaments
Champion of Champions Tournament Not Held SF QF 1R QF QF 1R QF SF
The Masters LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ A LQ LQ W F W 1R QF W F 1R QF QF 1R QF 1R
Variant format tournaments
Six-red World Championship[nb 6] Tournament Not Held 1R A W NH QF SF WD QF 1R A 1R 2R
Former ranking tournaments
Malta Grand Prix LQ NR Tournament Not Held
Thailand Masters LQ LQ LQ NR Not Held NR Tournament Not Held
British Open 1R LQ LQ LQ 1R 1R Tournament Not Held
Irish Masters Non-Ranking Event 1R 1R 1R NH NR Tournament Not Held
Northern Ireland Trophy Tournament Not Held NR 3R 2R 3R Tournament Not Held
Indian Open Tournament Not Held 2R A NH A A A Not Held
Wuxi Classic[nb 7] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event QF LQ 2R Not Held
Australian Goldfields Open Tournament Not Held QF 1R SF A 2R Not Held
Shanghai Masters Tournament Not Held SF SF 1R SF W 1R QF SF WD F 3R Non-Rank. NH
Paul Hunter Classic[nb 8] Tournament Not Held Pro-am Event Minor-Ranking Event W 4R A NR NH
China Open LQ LQ SF Not Held LQ 1R 2R SF 2R 2R F WD F QF W WD W W LQ Not Held
Riga Masters[nb 9] Tournament Not Held Minor-Rank. 1R WD A 3R NH
International Championship Tournament Not Held 2R QF LQ SF W W QF SF NH
China Championship Tournament Not Held NR 2R W SF NH
World Open[nb 10] 1R LQ LQ LQ 1R QF 1R 2R RR 2R 1R LQ SF QF F Not Held 2R 1R 3R 3R NH
Former non-ranking tournaments
Masters Qualifying Event[nb 11] 1R 1R 2R 1R 2R NH 2R F A A A Tournament Not Held
Warsaw Snooker Tour Not Held W Tournament Not Held
European Open[nb 3] Not Held Ranking Event RR Tournament Not Held Ranking
World Series Jersey Tournament Not Held F Tournament Not Held
World Series Warsaw Tournament Not Held SF Tournament Not Held
World Series Moscow Tournament Not Held SF Tournament Not Held
World Series Grand Final Tournament Not Held QF Tournament Not Held
Wuxi Classic[nb 7] Tournament Not Held F RR 1R W Ranking Event Not Held
Brazil Masters Tournament Not Held QF Tournament Not Held
Power Snooker Tournament Not Held QF SF Tournament Not Held
Premier League A A A A A A A A A F A RR VF RR Tournament Not Held
World Grand Prix Tournament Not Held 2R Ranking Event
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held 3R 2R 2R 1R 1R A Ranking
China Championship Tournament Not Held QF Ranking
Hong Kong Masters Tournament Not Held QF Not Held
Romanian Masters Tournament Not Held 1R Not Held
Paul Hunter Classic Tournament Not Held Pro-am Event Minor-Ranking Event Ranking Event A NH
Shanghai Masters Tournament Not Held Ranking Event QF 2R NH
Haining Open Tournament Not Held MR A W W SF NH
Championship League Tournament Not Held F F RR 2R RR RR RR A 2R RR SF 2R WD R
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 / RE / Ranking Event means an event is/was a ranking event.
RV / Ranking & Variant Format Event means an event is/was a ranking & variant format event.
MR / Minor-Ranking Event means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.
PA / Pro-am Event means an event is/was a pro-am event.
VF / Variant Format Event means an event is/was a variant format 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 Malta Cup (2004/2005–2007/2008)
  4. ^ The event was called the Players Championship (2003/2004)
  5. ^ The event was called the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2010/2011–2012/2013) and the Players Championship Grand Final (2013/2014–2015/2016)
  6. ^ The event was called the Six-red Snooker International (2008/2009) and the Six-red World Grand Prix (2009/2010)
  7. ^ a b The event was called the Jiangsu Classic (2008/2009–2009/2010)
  8. ^ The event was called the Grand Prix Fürth (2004/2005) and the Fürth German Open (2005/2006–2006/2007)
  9. ^ The event was called the Riga Open (2014/2015–2015/2016)
  10. ^ The event was called the Grand Prix (1999/2000–2000/2001 and 2004/2005–2009/2010), the LG Cup (2001/2002–2003/2004) and the Haikou World Open (2011/2012–2013/2014)
  11. ^ The event was also called the Benson & Hedges Championship (1990/1991–2002/2003)

Career finals[edit]

Below is a list of professional finals played by Selby.[215]

Ranking finals: 27 (18 titles, 9 runners-up)[edit]

Legend
World Championship (3–1)
UK Championship (2–1)
Other (13–7)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 2003 Scottish Open England David Gray 7–9
Runner-up 2. 2007 World Snooker Championship Scotland John Higgins 13–18
Winner 1. 2008 Welsh Open England Ronnie O'Sullivan 9–8
Runner-up 3. 2011 German Masters Wales Mark Williams 7–9
Runner-up 4. 2011 China Open England Judd Trump 8–10
Winner 2. 2011 Shanghai Masters Wales Mark Williams 10–9
Runner-up 5. 2012 Welsh Open China Ding Junhui 6–9
Winner 3. 2012 UK Championship England Shaun Murphy 10–6
Runner-up 6. 2013 China Open (2) Australia Neil Robertson 6–10
Runner-up 7. 2013 UK Championship Australia Neil Robertson 7–10
Runner-up 8. 2014 World Open England Shaun Murphy 6–10
Winner 4. 2014 World Snooker Championship England Ronnie O'Sullivan 18–14
Winner 5. 2015 German Masters England Shaun Murphy 9–7
Winner 6. 2015 China Open England Gary Wilson 10–2
Winner 7. 2016 World Snooker Championship (2) China Ding Junhui 18–14
Winner 8. 2016 Paul Hunter Classic England Tom Ford 4–2
Runner-up 9. 2016 Shanghai Masters China Ding Junhui 6–10
Winner 9. 2016 International Championship China Ding Junhui 10–1
Winner 10. 2016 UK Championship (2) England Ronnie O'Sullivan 10–7
Winner 11. 2017 China Open (2) Wales Mark Williams 10–8
Winner 12. 2017 World Snooker Championship (3) Scotland John Higgins 18–15
Winner 13. 2017 International Championship (2) Northern Ireland Mark Allen 10–7
Winner 14. 2018 China Open (3) England Barry Hawkins 11–3
Winner 15. 2018 China Championship Scotland John Higgins 10–9
Winner 16. 2019 English Open England David Gilbert 9–1
Winner 17. 2019 Scottish Open England Jack Lisowski 9–6
Winner 18. 2020 (2) European Masters England Martin Gould 9–8

Minor-ranking finals: 10 (7 titles, 3 runners-up)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2010 Players Tour Championship – Event 2 England Barry Pinches 4–3
Winner 2. 2011 Paul Hunter Classic England Mark Davis 4–0
Winner 3. 2012 Paul Hunter Classic (2) Northern Ireland Joe Swail 4–1
Runner-up 1. 2012 Antwerp Open Northern Ireland Mark Allen 1–4
Winner 4. 2013 FFB Open Scotland Graeme Dott 4–3
Runner-up 2. 2013 Yixing Open England Joe Perry 1–4
Runner-up 3. 2013 Rotterdam Open Wales Mark Williams 3–4
Winner 5. 2013 Antwerp Open England Ronnie O'Sullivan 4–3
Winner 6. 2014 Riga Open Northern Ireland Mark Allen 4–3
Winner 7. 2016 Gdynia Open England Martin Gould 4–1

Non-ranking finals: 16 (8 titles, 8 runners-up)[edit]

Legend
The Masters (3–2)
Premier League (0–1)
Other (5–5)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 2006 Masters Qualifying Tournament England Stuart Bingham 2–6
Winner 1. 2007 Warsaw Snooker Tour Scotland John Higgins 5–3
Winner 2. 2008 The Masters England Stephen Lee 10–3
Runner-up 2. 2008 Championship League England Joe Perry 1–3
Runner-up 3. 2008 World Series of Snooker Jersey Scotland John Higgins 3–6
Runner-up 4. 2008 Jiangsu Classic China Ding Junhui 5–6
Runner-up 5. 2008 Premier League England Ronnie O'Sullivan 2–7
Runner-up 6. 2009 The Masters England Ronnie O'Sullivan 8–10
Runner-up 7. 2009 Championship League (2) England Judd Trump 2–3
Winner 3. 2010 The Masters (2) England Ronnie O'Sullivan 10–9
Winner 4. 2011 Wuxi Classic England Ali Carter 9–7
Winner 5. 2012 HK Spring Trophy England Andrew Higginson 7–1
Winner 6. 2013 The Masters (3) Australia Neil Robertson 10–6
Runner-up 8. 2014 The Masters (2) England Ronnie O'Sullivan 4–10
Winner 7. 2017 Haining Open England Tom Ford 5–1
Winner 8. 2018 Haining Open (2) China Li Hang 5–4

Pro-am finals: 1 (1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 2008 Paul Hunter Classic England Shaun Murphy 0–4[216]

Variant finals: 1 (1 title)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2010 Six-red World Championship England Ricky Walden 8–6[217]

Pool career[edit]

As well as being a professional snooker player, Selby is also adept at playing pool, specifically blackball (also known as English eight-ball) and Chinese eight-ball. In June 2006, he won the WEPF World Eight-ball championship at the Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool, beating Chris Melling 10–5 in the semi-finals and Darren Appleton 11–7 in the final.[218][219]

In February 2015, Selby was runner-up at the inaugural Chinese Eight-ball World Championship in Yushan, China.[220] Having defeated Liu Haitao 15–13 in the semi-finals,[221] he lost 19–21 to Appleton in the final.[220][221] Selby had edged into the lead, 19–18, before Appleton won three consecutive racks to cross the finishing line.[220]

Pool finals: 2 (1 title, 1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2006 WEPF World Eight-ball Championship England Darren Appleton 11–7
Runner-up 1. 2015 Chinese Eight-ball World Championship England Darren Appleton 19–21

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