Mark Selby revealed he has suffered a “relapse” in his battle with depression following his Masters exit.
The reigning world champion was hammered 6-1 by Barry Hawkins in his quarter-final on Friday at Alexandra Palace, having previously made only one break over 50 in a lacklustre first-round win over Stephen Maguire.
Selby labelled his performance against Hawkins “pathetic from start to finish” on the World Snooker Tour’s official website after the match, and on social media on Saturday he opened up on the struggles behind his underperformance.
“Just want to apologise to all my friends and family for letting them down,” he tweeted. “Mentally not in a good place at moment, had a relapse and trying to bottle it up and put a brave face on is not the way. I promise I will get help and become a better person. #mentalhealth”
Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, offered support to Selby.
Ferguson told Metro: “The WPBSA is not just a governing body, it is a members’ association which includes a players’ support body for players on the World Snooker Tour.
“We are always sorry to hear if any of our players are going through difficult times, support is there for Mark and any other playing member on the WST.”
Selby’s fellow professionals were also quick to get behind him.
Shaun Murphy, the 2005 world champion and Selby’s fellow Triple Crown winner, told BBC Sport: “You never know what’s going on between somebody’s ears, especially in a high-pressure sport like snooker.
“We’re out there on our own, travelling, hotels, all the rest of it – I just hope he’s okay and whatever help he needs, I hope he gets it.
“World champion, world number one, he expects a lot from himself and anything less than a perfect performance is going to bother him.”
Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry added: “I’ve got no idea how hard it is for Mark. I watched some of his match and he didn’t look right at all.
“I just hope he gets help, gets better, because obviously the defence of his World Championship is coming up in April and May.”