Mark Selby credits new coach Chris Henry for keeping his Crucible hopes alive and is taking his mind off snooker the only way he knows how this weekend - shopping, writes Will Jennings.
Leicester’s three-time king of the Crucible showed all his bottle on Friday to move into the World Snooker Championship quarter-finals, making a gusty 124 in the deciding frame to topple Noppon Saengkham.
The world No.7 has endured a bumpy season on the snooker circuit, having reigned supreme at both the English and Scottish Opens but succumbing to premature defeats in the Masters and UK Championship.
He reckons new coach Henry’s influence has banished any negative thoughts, however, and is looking forward to swapping high breaks for the high street with his wife, Vikki, at the weekend.
“I’ll probably just stay in Sheffield this weekend - I’ve got my wife here with me,” the 37-year-old said.
“I don’t play now until Monday - I’m sure she’ll want to have a look round the shops so I’ll probably have to tag along just to take my mind of snooker for a couple of days!
“It’s only been a few weeks [with Chris] but he’s got a lot of the negative thoughts out of my head and put them to bed.
“Before I joined Chris I was always thinking ‘is there something technically I need to change and is that why I’m not winning?’
“But he did a few things with me and proved that it wasn’t really technical - it was more upstairs where I was a little bit weaker than normal.
“So he’s been working on that and tried to get my positive thoughts back. He definitely seems to be helping, and if it wasn’t for Chris I don’t think I’d have stood up out there.
“Hopefully working with Chris can reinstall that confidence in me and I think that showed towards the end of that match.”
The 17-time ranking winner prevailed in a marathon encounter under the storied Crucible lights, going into his final session with the scores level at eight frames apiece.
Both players continued to exchange frames to tee up a nerve-jangling decider, after world No.42 Saengkham stunned Selby by hauling back a 12-10 deficit with a brave 90 in frame 24.
But a brilliant century from the 2014, 2016 and 2017 king of the Crucible rolled back the years in style and showed all that old grit and determination at one of his favourite venues.
Selby has been there and won it all in the game and with a last eight duel against either Neil Robertson or Barry Hawkins looming, says it’s a simple desire of racking up more titles that’s still fuelling his pursuit of glory.
“Just carrying on winning more [is what motivates me] - I still enjoy the game, and while I’m competing and playing like that, that’s what spurs me on, playing in arenas like this,” he added.
“My aim now is to win the majors - the UKs, Worlds and the Masters - so I want to win a few more of them, if possible.
“Neil’s got pedigree here and Barry’s got a great record here - I don’t really mind who I play and as long as I go out there positive and believe in myself I know I’m capable of winning.”
Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship from 31st July -16th August with analysis from Jimmy White.