2024 Players Championship: Mark Selby Won’t Let Ronnie O’Sullivan Intimidate Him

In an exclusive interview with, Mark Selby reflects on his journey through the 2024 Johnstone's Paint Players Championship. Despite fluctuating confidence, Selby's resilience and skill led to a hard-fought victory over Barry Hawkins. Looking ahead to his quarterfinal clash with Ronnie O'Sullivan, Selby remains pragmatic, ready to face the legendary player.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-02-22

Wade McElwain

6 minutes read

Ronnie O'Sullivan at the WST

Turbulent Confidence: Selby's Seasonal Journey

In a captivating first-round encounter at the 2024 Johnstone's Paint Players Championship, Mark Selby showcased his resilience and skill as he secured a hard-fought 6-3 victory over Barry Hawkins, propelling himself into the quarterfinals where he will face his long-standing rival, Ronnie O'Sullivan.


Reflecting on his performance in an exclusive post-match interview with, Selby expressed his fluctuating confidence throughout the season, acknowledging the challenges he faced on the snooker circuit. "Confidence wise it's sort of been few and far between this season since the British Open," Selby remarked. 


"I've not been playing great in some patches, and then I’ve been playing well." Despite the ups and downs, Selby emphasised his dedication to improvement, noting, "I'm still working hard on the practice table, but if you keep getting beat, it’s going to knock you down."

A Duel of Friendship and Competition

The match against Hawkins presented a unique challenge for Selby, given their close friendship off the table. "It was a tough game today playing Barry," Selby admitted. "He is one of my best friends on the circuit, so not only was it a tough game because he's a great player, but to play one of your best mates as well, it makes it even tougher."


As the match progressed, Selby capitalised on his momentum, particularly in the latter stages, noting his satisfaction with his performance towards the end. "Barry will have been disappointed to go into the break all square, and I just built on my game and put in a strong performance towards the end, it was very pleasing," he remarked.


In the face of finding himself trailing 2-0 in the early stages of the match, Selby staged a remarkable comeback, showcasing his prowess with four breaks of over 50 to secure the victory.



A Rivalry Renewed: Selby vs. O’Sullivan

Looking ahead to his anticipated clash with Ronnie O'Sullivan in the quarterfinals, Selby maintained a pragmatic approach, acknowledging the challenges posed by the legendary player. "My game hasn’t been in a great place, that is probably the best I've felt for a long time this season," Selby commented optimistically. However, he expressed his readiness to face O'Sullivan head-on, stating, "I won’t approach the game any different. I'll just go in there, try my hardest as always, going with a bit of confidence from today and just try and play my own game."


Notably, Selby discussed his perspective on facing O'Sullivan, highlighting his lack of intimidation and his focused mindset. "In a way playing him makes your job a lot easier, as you know you need to go in there and play somewhere near your best, and if you don’t, you’re going home," Selby remarked confidently. "We’ll see what the game brings, but he doesn’t intimidate me."


Despite their numerous epic final clashes over their careers, Selby and O'Sullivan have surprisingly crossed paths on the professional snooker circuit only twice since 2021. This rarity in recent encounters adds an extra layer of intrigue to their upcoming match. What sets Selby apart from many other professionals is his exceptional record against O'Sullivan, a fact that certainly boosts his confidence going into their showdown.

Snooker’s Promising Future in Saudi Arabia

Amidst discussions of his upcoming match, Selby also expressed optimism about the state of snooker, particularly with the recent announcement of Saudi Arabia's 10-year deal with the sport. "Snooker seems to be in a good place at the moment," Selby noted, adding, "The country seems to be getting involved in every single sport at the moment, so it's nice that Snooker's involved in that umbrella. I can't wait to get started. I'm sort of coming towards the back end of my career so I've got to enjoy these amazing opportunities while I can.”


As Selby progresses through the tournament, his victory over Hawkins and his focused mindset underscores his determination to excel on the snooker stage, setting the stage for an eagerly anticipated clash with O'Sullivan in the quarterfinals.


Image credit: World Snooker Tour (WST)

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.