Snooker: Mark Selby - From barn-storming win to performing in a barn!
Less than 24 hours after winning a historic third Masters title in front of a worldwide audience, Mark Selby was back on the match table – only this time it was in a 'converted barn' with zero spectators.
The 29-year-old 'Jester from Leicester' was thrust back into the hurly-burly of life on the professional snooker tour with the start of two days of qualifying matches in the Championship League, at Crondon Park Golf Club, Essex.
It was all far removed from Sunday night, when Selby beat Neil Robertson 10-6 at Alexandra Palace to join a list of greats, including Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Steve Davis and the late Paul Hunter, as three-time Masters winners.
It also put Selby on course for the 'triple crown' in the same season, the world No.1 having already won the UK Championship last month, with just the World Championship remaining to complete the set.
ENJOY YOUR EVE WITH FREE ENTRANCE & 20% OFF YOUR FOOD BILL WITH...View details
NEW LEBANESE HOME BUFFET EVERY DAY @ CEDARS LEBANESE REST £ 6.99 pp STARTING @ 11 AM TILL 16:00 PM
Terms: LIMITED VOUCHERS AVAILABLE BOOK IN ADVANCE ONLY & PRINT THIS VOUCHERS CALL NOW : 01162519057
Contact: 0116 2169184
Valid until: Saturday, May 25 2013
It has been a remarkable purple patch for Selby these last two months, starting with the UK crown, followed by the German Open title two weeks ago and now the Masters.
"It's been a great time and I'm over the moon with Sunday's win," he said.
"I played really well at the start of the final, I dominated proceedings and scored well whenever I got a chance.
"And it was lucky I did because, during the evening session, all those late finishes earlier in the week caught up with me and I felt absolutely knackered.
"If Neil had got to within one frame of me, I might not have had enough in me to see it through.
"But it's the Masters, it's a big final, you know what's at stake and you rely on adrenalin to keep you focused.
"It also crept into the back of my mind that I could be on the verge of joining those great names as three-time winners, and that helps drive you on because you don't know if you'll ever find yourself in that situation again."
Selby, who became the first player in 10 years to win back-to-back majors, was allowed only a couple of hours of celebration, knowing he had to be in Essex yesterday.
"It will be a bit of a comedown, the venue is like a converted barn and the only people there will be me, my opponent and the referee!" he said.
"But pulling out wasn't an option, even though I could have done. I don't want to be one of those players known for picking and choosing what events I go in for.
"I love playing snooker for a living and I'd prefer to keep it that way."
Selby will now go to the World Championship at Sheffield in April as one of the favourites for the title.
It is the one trophy he has yet to win, but he will be heading to the Crucible high on confidence.
"Anything can happen between then and now, but it's the pinnacle of our sport and I will be trying as hard as everyone else to win it," he said.
"Mark Williams was the last to do the triple crown in the same season, in 2003.
"It would be amazing if I could be the next."