NEWLY-CROWNED champion of the world Mark Selby said his late father would have been looking down and smiling at him after landing snooker’s biggest prize.
The Jester from Leicester secured snooker destiny last night after turning around a 10-5 deficit into a thrilling victory against defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Selby’s father died of cancer when the Leicester potter was just 16-years-old and before he died he asked his son to one day become snooker world champion.
And through sheer tenacity he superbly battled back from behind and then drove himself towards the winning line to get his hands on the World Championship trophy.
The win also ensured Selby a place at the top of the new rankings list which is now based on prize money won rather than on points as was the case previously.
Selby said: “My father passed away with cancer when I was 16, two months before I turned professional, and his last words to me were ‘I want you to become World Champion’.
“I said to him I will be one day it’s just a matter of when not if.
“There have been a lot of people in my life that have helped me through. Willie Thorne’s brother, Malcolm, who sadly passed away a few years ago, spotted me when I used to go to Willie’s club. He put me on the right track and sponsored me for a few years before I turned professional so I owe a lot to him and I’m sure he and my father were looking down smiling as I lifted that trophy.
“In the next few days it will definitely settle in. To come through playing Ronnie in the final, it’s a dream come true if you’re going to win your first world title.”
The final was one of the best in recent years at the Crucible and Selby admitted he found the opening day of the final hard following his epic semi-final win over Neil Robertson.
“To get out 10-7 down yesterday, I felt I was winning 10-7. I was physically and mentally tired yesterday – the same as when I got to the final seven years ago against John Higgins.
“Ronnie outplayed me yesterday and I was still only 10-7 behind and I still felt I hadn’t turned up.
“All tournament I’ve felt confident and I knew if I got a chances I felt like I was going to score even though I didn’t yesterday. Ronnie came back to 15-14 and asked me the question, and I probably played my best snooker of the match in those last three frames.”
Selby’s Route to Crucible Glory:
R1 beat Michael WHITE 10-9
R2 beat Ali CARTER 13-9
QF beat Alan McMANUS 13-5
SF beat Neil ROBERTSON 17-15
Final beat Ronnie O’SULLIVAN 18-14