Mark Selby hits out at scheduling before facing fine for English Open concession

Mark Selby was tired and frustrated with scheduling before defeat to Martin O’Donnell at the English Open, for which he faces a fine for an early concession.

The four-time world champion played the British Open final over two sessions on Sunday, losing out 10-7 to Mark Williams in Cheltenham before heading to Brentwood for the English Open.

Selby was due to play on Monday but his first round match was rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon, which he won to set up a second round meeting with Martin O’Donnell later on Tuesday evening.

World Snooker Tour described the 40-year-old having to play twice in the same day as ‘the best possible option in the circumstances’.

However, a visibly shattered Selby was beaten 4-2 by O’Donnell and conceded in the last frame after he missed a blue off the last red, despite not being at the snookers-required stage, which will result in a fine.

After beating Xing Zihao on Tuesday afternoon, the Jester from Leicester admitted he was struggling with fatigue after his exploits last week.

‘I feel alright, but tired, I know that,’ Selby told ‘Long night the other night against Mark, obviously a tough final. Mentally and physically tiring.

‘You’re doing well in one and sacrificing another. It gives the players no choice but to pull out of a few tournaments. That’s not us moaning but they’re basically giving us no choice.

‘You want to go to a tournament knowing you’ve got the best chance of winning and having done the best preparation, and obviously you’re not going to be.

‘At the end of the day it’s not down to me and whatever the players say doesn’t seem to get acknowledged and whatever World Snooker want to do, they do.’

Former world champion Neil Robertson has also spoken out against the intense schedule, describing it to The Sun as ‘insane’ and ‘unacceptable’.

World Snooker Tour responded to the Australian’s comments with a statement reading: ‘This season we have brought four huge events in China on to our calendar.

‘This has been a massive boost for the tour and has increased prize money by several million pounds.

‘China is a highly significant growth area and the players will expect us to maximise those opportunities in the future.

‘A packed calendar can cause scheduling issues in any sport – for example the Formula One roster regularly jumps between continents.

‘Broadcasters in each territory often prefer events to be spread out rather than back-to-back.

‘But we work with our partners and broadcasters to find the best solutions and we always listen to feedback from the players.’

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