Mark Selby believes he has produced the most consistent form of his career in 2016 and has no intention of letting slip snooker’s world number one spot.
Over the past eight months Selby has won 39 out of 46 matches on the pro tour, winning the Gdynia Open and Paul Hunter Classic in that period as well as his second World Championship crown.
And he goes into next week’s Coral English Open in Manchester full of confidence as he looks to extend a 20-month spell at the top of the rankings.
“I have been more consistent than at any other time in my career this year,” said the 33-year-old, who is through to the semi-finals of the European Masters in Romania after a 4-0 win over Alfie Burden today. “I went through a phase of getting to finals and not converting them into wins. The difference this year is that I have been winning finals, other than the one against Ding Junhui in Shanghai last month.
“When I kept losing finals it really hurt and made me more hungry to work harder to get that extra edge. I have not changed anything technically, I have just become more determined. And I know that when I’m not on my A game I can still scrap out wins and that’s a great thing to have in my locker.
“There are always young guns coming through trying to knock me off the perch, like Kyren Wilson and Anthony McGill who have won tournaments. I have will to win and keep going, rather than getting complacent.”
The Coral English Open runs from October 10-16 at Event City in Manchester and it is the first of the new Home Nations series of tournaments. Leicester’s Selby is up against Gary Wilson in his opening match on Tuesday.
The tournament will be televised live by Eurosport and Quest. Home Nations events will follow in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with any player winning all four to receive a massive £1 million bonus.
Tickets for next week are still available and start at just £10.
There are 32 matches in all on Tuesday including Ronnie O’Sullivan v Jimmy Robertson, Judd Trump v Ken Doherty and Selby v Gary Wilson.
There are also 32 matches on Monday including Jimmy White v Zhou Yuelong and Stuart Bingham v Robert Milkins.
Home Nations events
Coral English Open – Event City, Manchester, October 10-16
Northern Ireland Open – Titanic Exhibition Centre Belfast, November 14-20
Scottish Open – Emirates Arena, December 12-18
Welsh Open – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, February 13-19