‘I’m on the right track’ – Mark Selby is more positive as he struggles with mental health issues off the table

Mark Selby told Europsort he was on the right track mentally after beating Jamie Jones in the first round of the World Championship.

The defending champion arrived at the Crucible with few expectations after a poor season marred by his admission of his mental health issues.

Selby opted to retire from the Turkish Masters and the Gibraltar Open, meaning his last appearance was a first-round elimination at the Welsh Open.

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He started well in the morning and despite a wobble in the evening when Jones threatened a comeback, Selby got over the line in a match where he smashed three tons.

Selby said he had had little practice leading up to the Crucible but revealed in his post-match interview with Eurosport that he arrived in a positive mood and praised the doctor he worked with.

“I didn’t play the last two tournaments because it was difficult,” Selby told Eurosport after his 10-7 win. “I’ve been working with a doctor for a while.

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“He told me to keep playing and working with the help I decided to do. But I felt like it was getting too much, too much pressure too, and that I wasn’t in the right mental state. So we tried but it didn’t work so we decided to take a break.

“In the last six weeks I’ve done a lot more sessions with him and he’s kind of made me feel a little bit better. I’m on the right track.

“I want him, Dr. Lanka in London to say a big thank you. Also Mark Quirk, the guy who put me on him.”

Selby fought hard to get over the line against Jones and thanked those who supported him.

“I got a great ovation, so it’s really brilliant,” Selby said. “I got a lot of support on social media, people saying they did well, that they spoke out.

“I didn’t want to go out there and everyone put their arm around me and said, ‘Well done, you’ve helped so many people,’ but sometimes it’s okay not to be okay.

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“Snooker is such a tough game when you’re in the right mental state, so it’s twice as hard when you’re not in the right mental state.

“Coming here just for the tournament made me think positively and I said I would try.

“Today’s result was irrelevant to me. As long as I went out and enjoyed it, smiled a little – which I did – then whatever happens happens.

“The most important thing right now is to improve myself.”

Watch the World Championship and other top snooker live on Eurosport and Discovery+.

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