Mark Selby
Selby goes in search of reclaiming the world No.1 ranking at the Masters in January Monique Limbos

Reigning world snooker champion Mark Selby is prepared for the demands of balancing fatherhood with the task of reclaiming his status as world No.1 despite suffering a second round exit at the UK Championship.

The 30-year-old lost 6-4 to world No.62 David Morris less than three weeks after wife Vikki gave birth to the pair's first child, Sofia Maria, with the 'Jester from Leicester' admitting he was unable to fully concentrate on his campaign in York.

Selby will relinquish his place at the summit of snooker's world rankings ahead of the full resumption of the season at the Masters in January but despite the blow the Leicester-born player is unfazed by the latest challenge facing him.

"My focus wasn't 100% like I would like it to be but at the same time I wouldn't change what I've got now," Selby told IBTimes UK. "I'll get back to the practice table now and hopefully now things have settled down everything should be back to normal.

"I knew [the UK Championship] was going to be tough because my mind was elsewhere with Sofia Maria only being a few weeks old and playing the father role and everything was all new.

"My focus wasn't 100% like I would like it to be but at the same time I wouldn't change what I've got now."
- Mark Selby

"At the end of the day I've still got a job to do. It's still my job, it's still my career and I've still got to make a living. With my daughter being here now I can't approach it any differently.

"Obviously I need to balance the diary a lot better, I won't play in everything. I still need to work hard because if I take my foot of the practice pedal then everyone else is catching you up.

"Now the dust has settled and I've found my feet, obviously it's a whole new experience but I can try and approach it in a normal way. Hopefully by the time the Masters come around I'll be match sharp and practising with other players.

"It's going to be difficult and as I said earlier on I am not the only player on tour with children. I've got to be a little bit selfish and think I've got to go out there and earn it and give my daughter a better living."

"I would always want to see the World Championship stay where it is but it will go to China one day. I can't see it not happening."
- Jimmy White on future of the World Snooker Championships

After playing a qualifier for the German Open prior to Christmas, Selby's season will resume in earnest against "close friend" Shaun Murphy in the Masters first round as he attempts to go one better than in 2014 when he lost 10-4 in the final to Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Beyond that, Selby's primary objective in 2015 will centre around retaining the world title he claimed back in May – a victory dedicated to his late father who died when he was just 16 – at the World Championships which will be held at the Crucible in Sheffield for a 38<sup>th straight year.

Rumours are abound that like much of the tour, the championships are destined to move abroad with China regularly mentioned as a potential destination. Six-time world finalist Jimmy White said it was inevitable that the tournament would move to Asia.

But Selby has joined world snooker chairman Barry Hearn in dismissing the idea.

"I would be very disappointed if it did move from Sheffield," he added. "When you talk to people that's what they talk about, the Crucible is the home of snooker much in the same way as Wimbledon and tennis and Wembley with football.

"With China being so popular there were rumours last year and the year before that it could go over there. With China at the moment you've got so many tournaments over there you could overpower it. If the tournament goes to China the tournament loses a bit of its value."

Snooker at BBC Sports Personality of the Year

1981: Steve Davis (2nd)

1982: Alex Higgins (2nd)

1984: Steve Davis (3rd)

1987: Steve Davis (2nd)

1988: Steve Davis (1st)

1989: Steve Davis (3rd)

1990: Stephen Hendry (2nd)

Despite Selby's emotional victory in Sheffield last May, he was overlooked as one of 10 nominees for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, with the likes of golfer Rory McIlroy and Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton the leading contenders in 2014.

Though Steve Davis is the most successful sportsperson in the ceremony's history, having been placed in the top three on five different occasions including in 1988 when winning the award, Selby admits the days when snooker players were considered among the elite in British sport are over, particularly given the recent omission of O'Sullivan.

"You look at people who are in the running, like Lewis Hamilton, they are prestigious and a lot more higher [regarded] than our sport," he explained.

"It bemused me that someone like Ronnie over the years has never been nominated. For what he's achieved over the years it's ridiculous.

"He took a year out and won the worlds [in 2013] and to not be in the running was quite poor. I didn't even think about it at all that I'd be on the list.

"If Ronnie can't get in it from taking a year out and then becoming world champion then the way snooker is it shows no one will ever get in it."