Mark Selby feared World Championship had gone before Crucible comeback
Last Updated: 02/05/17 7:51am
Mark Selby had accepted defeat before staging the spectacular comeback that brought him a third World Championship title.
The 33-year-old trailed John Higgins by 10-4 on Sunday evening before a stunning turnaround led to an 18-15 victory at the Crucible on Monday night, making him just the fourth player to successfully defend a world title in Sheffield, after Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan.
The recovery began when Selby ran through the final three frames of day one, cutting his arrears to 10-7 and sowing the first seeds of doubt in the mind of Higgins.
"It's a fantastic feeling," said Selby. "I was confident coming here because of the season I've had.
"But at 10-4 down I thought there was no way in the world I was coming back from that. I wanted to try to make it respectable and at one stage I was thinking I could lose with a session to spare.
"I was sitting there and thinking, 'Try to get your act together, try and find something from within, just take one frame at a time'. And to come out 10-7 felt like I was 10-7 in front.
"My game was all over the place, I was missing ball after ball and making it too easy for John.
"I decided if I was going to lose I'd go down fighting."
Four-time champion Higgins is convinced there will be more successes for Selby.
Asked about the Leicester man's prospects of further world titles, Higgins said: "I think Mark will add to that, whether it's one, two, three or four. He's the toughest player I've ever played.
"He looks as if he could be the challenger to Stephen Hendry's seven, I really believe that because he's just granite, he really is. It's really tough to play against. I take my hat off to him - fantastic.
"Mark is the toughest player I've ever played. I was trying to get ahead and keep my foot on him but he's too good a player not to come back so every credit to him.
"I'm delighted to have got to the final, it's a pity I couldn't have gone one step further but I'm proud of myself."
Asked whether Selby was now up there with the all-time greats, Higgins said: "Without a shadow of a doubt."
For those on the move, we will have Snooker covered via our website skysports.com/more-sports, our app for mobile devices and iPad.