Mark Selby has spoken of the pride he has for his Leicester heritage and a special mural that was made to honour his achievements last year.
The world champion is taking part in the Snooker Shoot Out this week at the Morningside Arena in Leicester, winning his opening fixture of the rapid-fire ranking event thanks to a tight 43-38 single-frame victory against Li Hang on Thursday.
Selby was boosted by the partisan support of the local crowd, and the world number one spoke ahead of this week’s tournament about a difficult upbringing in the city that he loves.
“It was tough,” 38 year-old Selby, who reached the final of the 2021 Shoot Out at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, told the World Snooker Tour.
“As I’ve said in interviews before, my father didn’t really have that much money. I came from a broken family, my mother and father split up when I was quite young, which happens in a lot of families.”
“I had to work for everything I had, I wasn’t able to play snooker every single day as much as I’d like because my father didn’t have the funding for me to play every day.
“I was only probably playing once or twice a week until Malcolm Thorne took me under his wing, was giving me free practice, and I was going every day after to school to practice as much as possible.
“The city has been good to me. Every time I’ve done well in a tournament or won a tournament, the football club are always asking me to parade the trophy around the pitch, which is always nice.”
— Mark Selby (@markjesterselby) September 4, 2021
Selby has made his mark in the history books and became only the fourth player in the Crucible era to win four World Snooker Championship titles with his triumph over Shaun Murphy in Sheffield last May, and not long after the city of Leicester honoured him with a spectacular mural near to where he grew up.
“It’s huge, because I never forget my roots. When Vicky first moved to the city I took her back to where I was brought up – I’m not ashamed of it.”
“It’s not the poshest area in Leicester, but obviously it’s one where I’ll always have a soft place in my heart. It’s where I was brought up, it’s all I ever know.
“I still go back there every now and then just to sort of pinch myself, and realise what I’ve achieved and where I’ve come from.
“I still see some people who live in that area, who live on the street where I used to live with my dad and say ‘hello’ and take time out to speak to me – it’s nice.”
Live coverage of the Snooker Shoot Out continues on Eurosport, with other viewing options available around the world.
Featured photo credit: WST