World Championship star Mark Selby speaks out on struggles with wife’s cancer diagnosis | Other | Sport

Mark Selby is hoping to put a year of hell behind him in his quest for a memorable fifth world title. The Leicester potter has understandably struggled for form this season with his wife Vikki having been diagnosed with breast cancer and the sad death of a close friend.

But the 22-time ranking event winner hopes to find something special in Sheffield – a happy hunting ground during his distinguished career – as he looks to finally give himself and his family something to smile about at the end of his toughest ever season.

Selby, the world No.5, threatened to quit the sport earlier this season after a frustrating run of results.

However, he’s hoping snooker’s top tournament inspires him to shine at the Crucible and pocket the £500,000 first prize.

“I only said I’d think about retiring because I’ve not really been enjoying it [playing snooker],” Selby said.

“I’ve always said when it gets to the point where I’m not enjoying it, well then I’ll definitely contemplate calling it a day.

“But we’ve had a lot going on off the table. Vikki’s friend Nina sadly passed away in January, who we were really close to.

“That’s obviously been very hard to deal with and in the week’s leading up to her death as well.

“Vikki’s been suffering with her health and I’ve wanted to be there to care for her, so it’s been tough, really tough.

“It’s been madness to be honest, especially with Vikki’s diagnosis last year. It blew our heads apart.

“You never think it’s going to be you, but touch wood she’s good. She’s finished her [chemotherapy] treatment and she’s having regular checks.

“She’s a warrior, she amazes me because she was stronger than me when it all happened.

“So this year I’ve not put any expectation on myself, I just want to make sure I enjoy myself.

“If I do enjoy it then I’ll know that my hunger is still there. If you come to the Crucible and don’t enjoy the tournament, well then you know you’ve got problems.

“But I had butterflies driving up to the venue, which is a good sign.”

Selby last won the Crucible crown in 2021 and was beaten 18-15 by Belgian potter Luca Brecel in last season’s showcase final.

The Jester faces fellow Leicester potter – and Crucible debutant – Joe O’Conner in the first round this (Sun) morning, with their best-of-19 frame clash set to be concluded tomorrow afternoon.

“I’ve known Joe since he was nine or 10, it was always a matter of time before Joe did qualify for the tournament, he’s too good a player not too,” added Selby.

“But the only player I wanted to avoid was Joe because he’s my mate. We’re both from Leicester and we both want each other to do well.

“I don’t think he’ll buckle out there, so I know I’ll need to be at the top of my game.”

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