Mark Selby insists he is not concerned by his early season form, despite the fact that he has not reached a ranking event quarter-final yet this term.
Selby enjoyed the best season of his career in 2016/17, winning five ranking titles including his third Betfred World Championship crown. But a toe injury suffered in June left him with a protective boot on his foot for a month, and nearly seven weeks where he couldn’t play snooker.
He missed the Kaspersky Riga Masters and the World Cup, then returned at the invitational Hong Kong Masters where he lost his opening match against Neil Robertson. Selby has since lost in the last 32 of the Evergrande China Championship and the last 16 of the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany.
“Everyone is a lot sharper than me so I wanted to get some matches under my belt,” said the 34-year-old from Leicester, who still holds a vast lead at the top of the world rankings. “I went to Germany because I was defending champion and because I haven’t played many matches this season. I was happy to get a few wins there and now I’m back on the practice table preparing for the upcoming tournaments.
“I am playing catch-up a little bit. I’m practising hard at home, but match practice is everything and I haven’t had much. I need to play in as many tournaments as I can and over the season it will even itself out. I’m far from in form at the moment. I really struggled in China and it was similar in Germany. Conditions were tough in both of those events because of the humidity, and that was a factor. I’ll work hard and hopefully things will change.
“I’m not too worried. The toe injury was the longest break I have had for snooker for a few years. I enjoyed it because it gave me the chance to spend a lot of time with the family, which we don’t get often. But it’s back to work now.”
Selby’s first televised tournament in the UK this season will be the English Open at the Barnsley Metrodome, running from October 16 to 22. A special offer of £15 for all-day tickets (Monday – Thursday) runs until Sunday – for details click here.