Mark Selby has admitted he may take time away from snooker if the pressures impact on his mental health.
Selby opened up on his struggles with mental health following his defeat to Barry Hawkins at the Masters.
The world champion said he would seek help, and he has already had a couple of sessions.
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His decision to play in the Shoot Out last week and this week’s German Masters came after a consultation.
Selby will continue with his sessions with a specialist, but will step away from the game if he feels it is in his best interests.
“Hopefully I can get myself better and by speaking out I can help a lot of other people,” Selby said in his press conference following victory over Barry Pinches in the last-32 of the German Masters. “There are a lot of people out there that you don’t know are suffering,”
“I’ve been speaking to a specialist since just after the Masters. I have had two sessions already and I’ve got another later on today on Zoom. He was asking me all sorts of questions and I said that ideally I’d like to try and carry on playing with the help. I said if I feel like it gets too much I’ll step back and have a break to sort myself out.
“If it wasn’t for speaking to the doctor before the Shoot Out I probably wouldn’t have played in that and possibly even this. He said to take it one step at a time and see how I go.
“I still love the game, but it is such a tough sport you need to be mentally in the right place. It is hard enough as it is without also being mentally not in the right place. It is just one day at a time.”
Selby feels off-table issues earlier in his life are the reason behind his current struggles.
“Don’t get me wrong it probably isn’t the snooker that is the reason why I am in this position,” Selby said. “I can accept winning and losing.
“It is probably my past experiences and my upbringing. Even though I grieved after my father, I bottled a lot of it up and felt I couldn’t talk about it without getting emotional and thinking of it as a negative, rather than remembering him in a positive way. That is something we are trying to work on.
“There are a lot of highs and lows in snooker and that can trigger emotions. I need to put snooker second, concentrate on myself and try to enjoy it. For years I’ve been going out there and bottling it up and only really Vikki (Selby's wife) and my close family knew what was happening. It is good that I can now go out there and say that I’m not feeling great. Before I would say I was fine, when I wasn’t. I’m not hiding behind the mask anymore and I’m being myself.”
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