World Mixed Doubles: Rebecca Kenna warns that partner Mark Selby is in cracking form

September 15, 2022
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Phil Haigh ✍️  

Mark Selby Rebecca Kenna
Mark Selby and Rebecca Kenna have been working hard ahead of the World Mixed Doubles (Pictures: Getty/WST)

Rebecca Kenna is feeling good heading into the World Mixed Doubles after a memorable couple of days practice with her partner Mark Selby, who is in ‘cracking form’ ahead of the trip to Milton Keynes.

Kenna and Selby were drawn together and will take on the pairs of Ronnie O’Sullivan and Reanne Evans, Judd Trump and Ng On Yee and Neil Robertson and Mink Nutcharut in the first edition of the new event.

Looking to get an edge on their foes, the English pair have been working hard in Nuneaton on the practice table, spending a couple of days together, and Selby has not been taking it easy on his partner.

The four-time world champion has been dealing with a neck problem early in the season, but appears to be handling it well and knocking in a torrent of big breaks in practice.

‘It was good. I was interested to see how he was playing because I know he’s got a bad neck,’ Kenna told ‘We just played a load of matches and he’s fine. He just warmed his neck up a bit and it was fine, so all good.

‘He basically gave me one or two shots per frame. If I didn’t get a good break off he was dishing up and if he got a decent break off I was getting the dump shot in, he’d put one in the middle and away he went!

‘He must have had about 15 century breaks in 20 frames and a 147, so he’s in cracking form.

Mark Selby and Rebecca Kenna
(Picture: Twitter @RebeccaKenna89)

‘I can’t get demoralised practicing against a four-time world champion can I? I can’t expect a sniff. I actually took two frames which I was pretty pleased with.

‘It was all good practice and good to get some rapport with him, get some good positive vibes and feel good about the tournament. It was really good.’

When it comes to tactics and game plans for the doubles events, Selby tried to put Kenna at ease and encourage her to play her natural game rather than worry about the fact that an O’Sullivan, Trump or Robertson might be coming to the table next.

‘I was trying to discuss tactics a bit,’ said Kenna. ‘I thought I’d have to be getting some good safeties in, but Mark was saying I don’t want to be playing too safe and not enjoy the match. He said don’t turn stuff down that I would normally take on. So just relax and play my own game and enjoy it.

‘You don’t want to go away having played a few safeties, lose and not really having enjoyed it. It’s best to try and have fun. You’ve got to just try and play your own game and try not to worry if you’ve got Ronnie or Neil or Judd following you.’

It will be easily the biggest stage Kenna has played on so far in her career, with the World Mixed Doubles shown live on ITV, the first time snooker has been on the main ITV channel for 21 years.

However, the nerves have faded since hitting the practice table with the Jester from Leicester, who seems to be a very calming influence.

‘I’m more relaxed now,’ she said. ‘I was nervous thinking about it, but spending a couple of days with Mark he’s really put me at ease and we’re just going to go out there, enjoy it and hopefully play some good snooker. So I can just look forward to it now and go out to enjoy it.

‘I’ve met Mark before. I think he’d have been my first pick [as a partner] to be honest. So I was pretty happy with that.’

More good news for Kenna recently is the introduction of the guaranteed income for professionals, which means tour players will get a minimum of £20,000 this season.

In her first season on tour it was always going to be tough to pick up much prize money and the announcement is a huge plus for the months to come.

‘When I took the tour card I knew it would be two years of probably barely winning anything, but just to get the experience,’ she said.

‘So I quit my job as a coach in my shop to have a proper go at playing full time, but knowing I was taking a huge pay cut. So it is nice to know that there’s a safety net now.’

With her place on tour and a spot in a high profile event comes new arrangements that Kenna wasn’t necessarily expecting, including driving around in a car with her name on it.

‘My sponsor Ox Billiards have been helping me, that’s been really good. I’ve just picked up a second sponsor as well, Keighley Kia have provided me a car while I’m on tour,’ she said.

‘I remember driving to Belgium with another player to play in the Belgium women’s and we broke down on the way and I felt so bad. So a nice new car and I won’t feel so nervous about breaking down on the way to an event.

‘It’s a bit embarrassing, but it does say ‘Keighley Kia proudly sponsors Rebecca Kenna’ on the side. It’s a bit showy for me, but I’m not complaining’.

Kenna and Selby play the World Mixed Doubles on 24-25 September at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

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