Mark Selby is now guaranteed to remain snooker’s world number one player at the end of the 2016/17 season following his victory at the China Open yesterday.
The reigning world champion has enjoyed an unbroken spell at the head of snooker’s world ranking list since February 2015 and by successfully defending his prize money from his victory in Beijing two years ago, now heads to the World Championship with a lead of £385,425 to closest challenger Judd Trump on the provisional end of season ranking list.
With a record top prize of £375,000 on offer to this year’s winner at the Crucible Theatre, even if Selby were to suffer a shock opening day defeat on his second world title defence, victory for Trump would still not be enough to see him end Selby’s ownership of the top ranking.
By retaining the top ranking for a sixth consecutive year, Selby will join an exclusive club of himself, Steve Davis and Ray Reardon to have achieved the feat, behind only Stephen Hendry, who held top spot for a record eight years from 1990-1998.
If he can reach this year’s World Championship final, Selby will also become the first player to break the £1,000,000 barrier during a two-year rolling ranking period.
The Jester from Leicester will get his Crucible title defence underway at 10:00am on 15th April 2017, while the qualifiers for the tournament get underway this Wednesday at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.