Selby Targets Barnsley After Injury Return
Snooker’s World Champion Mark Selby will head the field when the English Open comes to Barnsley for the first time in October.
Selby has missed the start of the current season due to a broken toe but is set to return to the baize later this month.
And the world number one is already looking forward to the first of the season’s Home Nations series, which will run from October 16 to 22 at the Barnsley Metrodome.
The tournament was new to the calendar last year and took place in Manchester, and now moves to South Yorkshire. The world ranking event will feature 128 players battling for a top prize of £70,000. And any player winning all four Home Nations events – with the other three to take place in Belfast, Glasgow and Cardiff – will land a massive £1 million bonus.
“I definitely plan to play in the English Open,” said Selby, who conquered the Crucible for the third time in May by beating John Higgins in the World Championship final. “I didn’t get far with my attempt to win the £1 million last season, I lost in the second round of the first event. So hopefully I can go further this time.”
Selby had to spend three weeks with a special boot on his foot after suffering the toe injury at home.
“I was in my snooker room when I dropped a big piece of glass on my foot,” said the 34-year-old from Leicester. “I knew I’d done something bad so I went to hospital, they did an X-Ray and said I’d broken my big toe. The doctor actually said I was lucky not to lose the toe.
“I had to wear a special protective boot for three weeks and they said it would take four to six weeks to heal. So I was hobbling around at home for a while. I had to pull out of the Riga Masters but I’m lucky it didn’t happen at a busier time of the season or just before the World Championship. I could still have played by limping around the table but it would have been difficult.”
Selby had the best season of his career in 2016/17, winning five ranking titles including the UK Championship and World Championship, and stretching his vast lead at the top of the world rankings.
“It will be very difficult to replicate that,” he admitted. “To win five events in one season was more than I expected. But there’s no danger of me taking my foot off the gas – that will only happen when I stop enjoying it. I love competing and I will be practising as hard as ever this season.”
Asked for his favourite win of last season, Selby named his 13-3 demolition of Marco Fu in the quarter-finals at the Crucible, in which he made three centuries and seven more breaks over 50.
“Marco was one of the form players at the time, so to beat him with a session to spare was a great win for me,” he said. “I had a spell of three or four frames where I didn’t miss a ball, and to play like that in Sheffield was some feeling.”
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