Mark Selby is in confident mood ahead of the 888casino Champion of Champions later this month, a competition he says ‘guarantees’ to cause excitement among the players.
Snooker’s new big-money event offers a £270,000 prize fund, with £100,000 going to the winner. Live on ITV4 from Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, November 19-24, it brings 16 of the world's top players head-to-head for what promises to be an exciting showdown.
Selby was replaced as World number one by Neil Robertson earlier this season, and though he admits he’d love to regain his crown, the 30-year-old says he enjoys playing without the pressure of being top of the rankings.
The Leicester man is targeting his first tournament win of the season in Coventry but knows that with such a strong line-up, becoming the first ‘Champion of Champions’ won’t be easy.
“It's guaranteed to be an event that all the top players will be looking to win,” he said.
“All the top players are playing so it is a fantastic event to be involved and it's going to be good for the fans too seeing all the top players in action.
“It's going to be tough and I'm pretty pleased with my game at the moment so who knows.
“[Returning to number one] is a target but I'm just happy to have achieved it already.
“It would be good but it doesn't have much of an effect on me because I don't have to carry the tag of being world number one.”
The ‘Jester from Leicester’ is well aware of the rivalry between his home city and Coventry, but says he has an affinity with the city playing host to the 888casino Champion of Champions.
“I actually used to play in the Coventry snooker league because back then you were allowed one professional player on a team so I used to travel over every Wednesday night,” he said.
“I made some great friends in Coventry who I used to see week in, week out so hopefully they will be there cheering me on too.”
Tickets for the 888casino Champion of Champions are on sale now and available from as little as £10 at www.theticketfactory.com or call 0844 338 8000.
The tournament features 16 of the world's top players - including Ronnie O'Sullivan, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson - all vying to be crowned the 'Champion of Champions'.
Stuart Bingham beat Ricky Walden 4-0 in the group stages of the 888casino Champion of Champions ...
Judd Trump beat Marco Fu 4-1 in the group stages of the 888casino Champion of Champions at Rico ...
MARK SELBY became the first player to reach the semi-finals of the 888casino Champion of Champi ...