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The 16 Seeds: Mark Selby

Continuing our series of Cazoo World Championship previews.
By David Hendon

Seed 2: Mark Selby

Career overview

Selby turned professional at 16 and reached a ranking final at the Scottish Open at 19, but his big breakthrough came at the 2007 World Championship where he reached the final as a qualifier, losing to John Higgins.

A year later at the Welsh Open he won his first ranking title in a manner which would sum up his career, by recovering from an unlikely deficit – 8-5 down to Ronnie O’Sullivan – to win 9-8.

Three times a Masters champion and twice winner of the UK Championship, Selby was world number one for four years unbroken from 2015 to 2019. His victory at the recent WST Classic netted him his 22nd career ranking title.

This season

Selby would surely prefer to win two ranking titles and have quiet spells during the campaign rather than just being consistent without winning anything.

For the great champions, collecting trophies is what matters. Selby’s victories at the English Open and WST Classic extended his run of having won 19 of his last 21 ranking finals, a formidable record which proves that, if he’s still around on the last day of a tournament, he’s very tough to beat in the title match. The earlier exits he made in other events matter less if he is ultimately picking up silverware.

The Crucible

Selby’s all round game and iron mental focus is ideally suited to the Sheffield marathon and its longer matches. He first reached the final as a qualifier in 2007 before finally triumphing in 2014. Further wins swiftly came in 2016 and 2017 before he captured a fourth world title in 2021.

The ability to come out of a session having played below his best and be 4-4 rather than 6-2 down cannot be underestimated. It seems Selby is made for the unique challenges the Crucible presents.

Key stats

Previous Crucible appearances: 17

Matches played: 53

Matches won: 39

Crucible centuries: 94

2023 prospects

With two title wins this season, he must surely be feeling confident. His Crucible pedigree makes him a serious contender again.

The key point with Selby is that someone will have to beat him – in fact scrape him off the table. He won’t lie down. He won’t give up. He can handle the pressure and is adept at controlling how matches are played.

Players who have proven they can last the 17-day course are always worth supporting. Selby must start as one of the main favourites.


Every chance to be the last man standing again.

Bookmakers’ odds on Selby: 6/1