• UK Championship

Selby in 'great shape' for UK Championship defence

ESPN staff
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Mark Selby faces 15-year-old amateur Shane Castle on Saturday © PA Photos
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Mark Selby insists he is feeling confident of his chances as he gets set to defend his UK Championship crown at York's Barbican Centre.

The tournament gets underway on Tuesday but Selby will not be in action until Saturday when he faces 15-year-old amateur Shane Castle.

"I feel in great shape," said Selby, who beat Shaun Murphy 10-6 in last year's final. "That's in stark contrast to how I've been for most of this season."

In the last tournament before the UK Championship, Selby lost to Stuart Bingham in the semi-finals of the inaugural Champion of Champions event.

However Selby beat world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, the winner in Coventry on Sunday, two weeks ago in the final of the Antwerp Open.

"It's always nice to beat Ronnie, but what pleased me most was the way I beat him. I won it playing good, attacking snooker - I beat him at his own game," Selby said.

"If you can't get confidence from that, what can you get confidence from?"

Selby has reached three finals this year, finishing as runner-up in the Asian Tour 1 and European Tour 2 events, but insists his game is not at its best.

He said: "I've not been playing diabolical snooker this season, I've just not been winning. And the more you don't win, the more it plays on your mind, certainly in my case anyway."

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