World champion Selby is pleased to return
Melting-pot king Mark Selby uses the chance to be presented as world champion for the first time this season in his blockbuster showdown with Shaun Murphy at the British Open in Leicester.
It is noteworthy that Selby faced the same player he defeated in the final of the World Cup in May with 18:15. The open draw for the British Open means that the setting has no influence and all players are put together in the hat. The resulting first-round draw has resulted in Selby and Murphy competing against each other again at the Morningside Arena.
On this occasion, Leicester's four-time World Champion Selby will have his home support team with a large crowd expected for his encounter with Triple Crown winner Murphy on Tuesday 17th August.
However, Murphy's style of attack and crowd interaction turned some of the Sheffield fans in his favor at the Crucible in May. There were some boos when Selby walked out before the last session and he admits it spurred him on to take the title.
"It was wonderful. We didn't play in front of anyone for 12 to 15 months. Suddenly during the tournament we were more and more in and it was amazing to get to the final and play in front of a full house. With the atmosphere as it was Shaun quite a lot of support. I think there were a lot of Irish fans there. Sometime before the night session I was booed, but that inspired me even more. I don't know whether they were drunk or just supported Shaun, but that inspired me. " said 38-year-old Selby.
“I see it more as a challenge. It turns your focus on even more than normal. Every time I play Ronnie O’Sullivan, it's the same occasion. There will always be a full audience and the majority will be on their side because of his personality and the way he plays. I always enjoy these opportunities and seem to be playing well. I think a lot is due to the occasion.
“It's going to be great at the British Open. Since I became a professional, I have never seen such a main ranking event in Leicester apart from the Championship League. Since it's my first tournament as a world champion, it's a great feeling to go out and play. Hopefully there will be a big rush.
“I've already seen myself going out as world champion, but it never gets boring. It will still feel as good as it did in the 2015 season after winning the 2014 World Cup. I'm looking forward to it. I've only started practicing in the last four or five days, so I'm still a little rusty at the moment. "
Selby's clash with Murphy in the Crucible Finals is one of the best world title games in recent years. An exciting highlight of the encounter was that Murphy increased the heat by firing for centuries in a row, coming back from 17-13 to 17-15.
It was Murphy who had a chance to clear and move within a frame, but after settling on a difficult red he missed and Selby cleared dramatically to get over the line. In retrospect, Selby admits it was starting to look like a do-or-die clearance.
“The way Shaun came back made it tense. If he had managed to win those frames by 17-13 it wouldn't have been the same, but he took two centuries to make it 17-15. He looked like he was going to come back to 17-16 and he would definitely have been the favorite if he had won that frame. I was fortunate that it turned a harsh red. Everything that is attributed to him in the circumstances, but I think I would have played the percentages. Luckily for me it didn't go in and I held together to take the clearance out.
“I had the feeling in my head that it would have been my only chance if I hadn't cleared up. He probably would have capitalized the way Shaun played. He would also have gained self-confidence because I hadn't provided the information. Everything would have turned in his direction. I told myself this was my chance and if I didn't clear up, this was it. I went to extra lengths. That moment at the end was more exhilarating than anything else. I knew how difficult this approval was under the given circumstances. "
The upcoming campaign offers the chance to return to the top of the world rankings. Selby dominated the sport between 2015 and 2019, spending 49 months occupying number one in the world during that time. Judd Trump had locked himself in first place in the leaderboard, but now his lead over Selby has been reduced to just over £ 100,000. The Leicester fool hopes to take off in his attempt to overtake Trump.
“That has always been one of my goals since I lost number one, to get it back. Judd was miles ahead of everyone, and rightly so. He earned his leadership and first place. The prize money at the Crucible is so big that the winner has a chance the following season. After winning it, I'm back in the race. I'm still a long way back, but if I can get off to a good start at the British Open, that will help. "
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