Mark Selby insists there will be no wallowing in past glories while a burning desire to add more titles drives him forward.
The 38-year-old from Leicester heads into 2022 as the reigning and four-time world champion – and also world No1 for the eighth time in his stellar career.
Selby has already achieved far more than he dreamed possible as a youngster growing up on a Leicester council estate with beloved and late father David.
But an insatiable winner’s mentality exists in Selby, whose total of ‘major titles’ by which snooker greats are judged is now up to nine – joint-fourth on the all-time list.
Reflecting on another great year in 2021, Selby said: “Hearing that you are world champion for the whole of that next 12 months – there isn’t a better feeling.
“The big titles and the nine major wins, they give you a sense of satisfaction. But I am just not ready to wallow too much in that and reflect on it yet.
“I have a lot more still to give and to win, and a few years left at the top of the game. So I am looking to increase that tally.
“When I eventually pack my cue away I will be proud to reflect on what I have achieved. It is already a lot more than what I set out to do.
“The feeling of winning something big with family and friends present – it is fabulous. The flip side, getting beaten all the time, is the worst feeling. So if you do win, you must cherish those occasions.
“And you have to remember the feeling it and use it for motivation. That’s what makes you work hard – to recapture that feeling.
“I still do a double-take of what I have made of myself and done with my life. The memories of growing up on a council estate with my father are there, there’s a big change to where I live now.
“I think keep my feet on the ground as a person and haven’t changed too much. But I know where and how I grew up.
“And the difference to that house and the one we are living in now does make you pinch yourself sometimes, and makes you a bit proud.
“It doesn’t get less special winning the World Championship, this last one felt just as good.
“Look, I suppose there will always be something extra about your first one. And particularly because that came with a win against Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final.
“But every win at the Crucible has been wonderful. It is such a tough tournament to win and tests you as a snooker player in every way to the maximum.”
For years accepted wisdom was that if anyone could beat Stephen Hendry’s total of seven world titles, it would be Ronnie O’Sullivan – currently standing on six.
But with Selby eight years younger and now up to four, the Scot himself has looked closer at the Leicester man’s credentials.
Selby said: “Stephen said I am the most likely and maybe the only person to equal or even better his record.
“To beat it would be another four world titles – double what I have now! Even to equal it would be another three, a very tough ask.
“Sitting here now if I won one more in my career I would be over the moon with that, as I know how hard it is.
“Then maybe another couple of Triple Crown wins, victories at the UK Championship or the Masters. They are the big titles, our majors, that everyone remembers and judges you on.
“Players like Judd…he is a great, great player but still has just the three major wins and some people will always bring that up. I am sure by the end of his career he will have got that number right up.
“He is still young and a great – but to be that all-time great like Hendry, O’Sullivan, Higgins, Davis, Williams, you want those major successes.”
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