An emotional Shaun Murphy described the way "super-granite" Mark Selby "broke" him over the course of the World Snooker Championship final at the Crucible.
Selby sealed his fourth World Championship with an 18-15 victory over Shaun Murphy in front of a packed crowd in Sheffield on Monday night.
Having won in 2014, 2016 and 2017, Selby ended his four-year wait to move level with John Higgins on four world titles when halting a late Murphy fightback in a thrilling final session.
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Murphy, the 2005 world champion, paid tribute to his friend's mental resolve and toughness, while opening up about how difficult everything has been for him.
"Mark is super-granite, unfortunately for me," Murphy said in his post-match speech at the trophy ceremony.
"Unfortunately for me, I've known him since we were nine years of age and he's always been the same.
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I started well but he went into super-hard mode. He broke me last night with that three-frame lead which was a tough lead to give him in a match of this calibre.
"Life has been difficult for everybody over the last 12 months but I want to say a very deep and personal thank you for every one of you who has bought a ticket over the last 17 days.
"Sport is nothing without fans and we've been thrilled to have everyone back and a full house tonight. It's been very tough for me this year with the travel restrictions but you've brought me back.
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Selby added: "It’s absolutely incredible. Every time you get to a world final you always try your hardest – it’s such a tough tournament to get there and you never know whether it’s going to be your last.
"I thought Shaun played fantastic all the way through the match. He’s a great, great player, a great ambassador for the game. I truly believe he’s back to where he was."
Selby picked up a £500,000 winners’ cheque in the process, and now has only Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Ronnie O’Sullivan ahead of him in terms of Crucible triumphs.
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