HONEST Mark Selby has revealed he considered committing suicide as a teenager.
In an extremely candid interview with the BBC, the three-time world snooker champion laid bare the powerfully raw emotions he felt after his father David died when he was 16 years old.
Dad David passed away from cancer in October 1999 and never saw his son’s professional career, notably his triple success at the Crucible.
The Leicester potter admitted he hit rock bottom and came closing to end it all.
Selby, 37, said: “For the first six months after he died, I more or less curled into a ball and didn’t want to play snooker. It was the last thing on my mind.
“Obviously, I wasn’t in a good place – to the point of nearly ending my own life as well. So that was tough.
“We had a council house which was me, my father and my brother, for about three, four months until we decided to give it back.
“We couldn’t bring ourselves to keep walking into that house, knowing that my father wasn’t going to be there.
“Those four months in-between were really tough. At times, I was very, very close to doing it.
“A friend of the family, who was my coach as well, a guy called Alan Perkins, he took me under his wing and pulled me through that.
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“He tried to turn it round, saying: ‘If your father was here, he wouldn’t want you going through this. He’d want you to still be smiling, still playing snooker, trying your best.’
“Alan told me to use him as a positive and try to kick on and do it for him.
“At the start it was difficult to look at it like that but as time has gone on, I have chosen to do that.”
Father-of-one Selby credits his wife Vikki for giving him the strength to pull through the difficult times in recent years.
The 37-year-old, who has banked close to £6milllion in prize money, said: “If I could turn back the clock, I’d give everything I’ve achieved in snooker back and all the money I’ve earned to see him again.
“He never saw my professional career, only at amateur level. It’s a shame and it eats away at me day-after-day knowing he hasn’t seen that.
“Hopefully he is looking down and I have made him proud.
“Vikki is a fantastic woman. She has been a big part of my success, make no mistake about that.”
By speaking out publicly like this for the first time, Selby hopes he can help anybody else who is suffering during lockdown.
Selby added: “It’s tough, I won’t be the only person to go through this and not the last
“If you are going through that, you need to speak out, don’t curl yourself up in a ball like I was doing.
“Speak out, speak to the people closest to you, and make them realise what you are going through, so they can give you their full attention.
"Speak to the professional people for help.
“The reason why I play like I do on the table is because I grew up with nothing.
“I’ve had to work for everything I have got. So playing on the table and making it easy for an opponent is the last thing I’m going to do.
“I try to work for every point I get and work for everything on and off the table.”
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.
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