Selt came from 9-4 down against Barry Hawkins at the Crucible last season, before losing 10-9
Matt Selt, one of the most improved players on the circuit over the past year, is determined to continue his progress.
Selt enjoyed the best season of his career in 2014/15, reaching the final of the Lisbon Open and the quarter-finals of the Players Championship, as well as qualifying for the Crucible for the second time. The 30-year-old from Romford – now based in Nuneaton – has also made a strong start to the current campaign, highlighted by a run to the quarter-finals of the Australian Goldfields Open which included a 5-4 win over Neil Robertson.
He has also qualified for the Shanghai Masters and this week was handed a place at the SangSom Six-Red World Championship in Thailand following the withdrawal of Mark Allen.
Selt, up to a career high of 27th in the world, cites his dedication to practice as well as the influence of coach Chris Henry and mentor Stephen Hendry as the main factors behind his recent improvement.
“I’m enjoying doing what I love for a living,” he said. “I feel that if I play well I can beat anyone. I would like to be a bit more consistent and challenge regularly for titles. I’d love to get into the top 16 and qualify for the Masters – I’m a fair way back at the moment but if I could win a tournament it is possible.
“Stephen and I have regular chats on the phone and he’s always ready with advice whenever I have a question. Chris has also helped me a lot – those two have made a massive difference for me. If it wasn’t for them I’d still be outside the top 50.
“I’ve been working on my fitness as well. I wore a medium size t-shirt to the snooker club last week and it was the first time I had squeezed into it for ten months. I’m doing a fair bit of time in the gym and eating carefully. I’m well on the way to getting back to the level of fitness I had a couple of years ago.”
Reflecting on this season’s results, Selt said: “In Australia against Neil I felt in total control to go 4-0 up, then the pressure got to me a bit and he came back well to 4-4. In the end I was lucky to get a chance and potted a good blue to win 5-4. That would have hurt a lot if I had lost.
“At the Riga Open I got to the quarter-finals again and I was disappointed not to go further. I missed too many balls against Tom, although I did have a massive kick on the black in the end when I had a chance to force a respot. I want to make sure that I qualify for the Players Championship so I’m off to a good start.”
Business as usual
As part of his strategy to keep improving, Selt has decided to fly business class to all long-haul locations. “I’ll never fly economy again,” he said. “I flew business to Australia which cost me over £4,000, but when I got off the plane I felt ready for the tournament. It means that you give yourself the best chance. The service I get from Emirates is amazing – they pick me up from my house, drive me to the airport 90 miles away and then take me back when I arrive. Last season I won £110,000 in prize money and spent £10,000 on flights so it’s less than ten percent of my earnings and I think it is worth it.”