Eurosport - Fri, 19 Mar 08:07:00 2010
Mark Selby answers a selection of questions posed by Eurosport-Yahoo! readers, including whether veteran players like Steve Davis should retire in good grace.
Connellrocraymond: "I saw John Higgins play at a charity exhibition and it really surprised me how funny he was - would more events like this let the public see that there are more characters in the sport than we realise?"
Yes, that is a fair point. I think it is very hard for the players to try to be entertaining and humorous when they are in a serious tournament, but there is certainly a place for exhibitions.
There is money at stake and this is our living, but we try to have fun with the crowds when we can because it is essential.
When players can interact and have a laugh with the spectators it brings everyone closer together, and that is important for the game.
Rosirland: "Is Ronnie O'Sullivan really that serious in normal life? He is never ever smiling whenever I see him and always looks very moody."
Ronnie is very laid-back and perhaps his relaxed demeanour makes him look moody to some.
I think he is very similar in terms of his outlook whether he has won or lost, and that is something a lot of people admire, but it may appear overly serious to some people.
Tomreves: "Don't you think players who have achieved everything in the game and continue to play and qualify for tournaments should just retire in good grace?"
I think that is a bit harsh: I would disagree with that. I think Steve Davis is a prime example of someone who has achieved everything in the game, but is still contributing a lot to snooker.
To see Davis appear at the Crucible for the 30th time this year shows that there is a lot of value in these players continuing to challenge.
Of course, there may come a point when they start to lose a lot of matches and feel that it is time to hang up their cue but, for the likes of Davis, there is still a lot to be gained by battling hard on the circuit.
Daveyccrromp: "Is it hard to be friends with some of the players away from the tables and then rivals at the table - how does it work and does it make things very awkward?"
It is slightly awkward at times, but I think we all know each other so well now on the circuit that there are no overly difficult encounters.
Of course, I have some good friends who it is hard to battle with, but it is our job to play snooker and we cannot always be buddy-buddy with everyone.
I have a lot of mates off the table, but it is not too hard to switch focus when you are in the thick of a battle.
It would be self-harming to be too pally with opposing players, and you have to learn to take every match seriously, no matter who is in the other chair.
Pipdywhipdy: "Does the World Championship feel different to other tournaments in your mind, or is it just like playing any other match when you get going?"
The World Championship definitely feels different to other tournaments because of the prestige and the venue. There is no doubt that the Crucible has a very unique aura and every player will tell you that it feels very special to be playing in Sheffield.
As a player you try to focus on the match and shut out the emotion and atmosphere around you so that nerves do not play too much of a part, but it is natural to feel differently than in other competitions.
Dangermouse14377: "When you are watching a snooker match, is it possible for you to just relax and enjoy it like normal fans, or do you watch it critically and tactically?"
It depends on who is playing. If it is just a match on the television then I can relax and enjoy watching it like anybody else.
It is fair to say that when a close friend is playing you feel nervous for them and tend to watch the match critically and analyse what they could be doing instead.
There are a few mates I have in the game who I would go to watch and to support, and in that situation I find myself getting very absorbed in the battle.
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