EMOTIONAL Mark Selby believes his fourth World Championship title is a triumph of overcoming personal adversity and sheer determination after toppling Shaun Murphy in a Crucible thriller.

And the Jester from Leicester insists he couldn’t care less about what the boo boys say after being branded a snooker ‘vampire’ by fellow greats Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis.

Selby became just the fifth man to lift the storied trophy in Sheffield four times as he resisted a rousing Murphy fightback to edge over the line 18-15 in front of a jam-packed crowd.

Only Hendry, Davis, Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins have reigned supreme on the hallowed baize on four occasions but Selby, 37, propelled himself deeper into the pantheon to join the elite snooker club.

Selby, the world No.4, grew up on a council estate in Leicester and has admitted he considered committing suicide after the death of his father, David, when he was just 16-years-old.

He knows he’s never had the natural talent of a Judd Trump or O’Sullivan but believes his humble roots make his fourth crowning glory all the more special.

Selby, crowned king of the Crucible in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2021, said: “It’s unbelievable.

“It’s absolutely incredible – when I won it the first time it was a dream come true, but to win it four times is only something I can dream of.

“To win three was unbelievable and be on a par with people like Mark Williams, so to now equal somebody like John Higgins, who is one of the all-time greats, and be on four is beyond my wildest dreams.

“If you’d have said to me when I was starting out as a young lad that I’d be 37 years old with four world titles, I’d have probably laughed at you, but it’s true and it’s come to fruition.

“I’m not the most naturally gifted player – you look at Ronnie and Judd and they’re very, very talented and are basically born with a cue in hand.

“Whereas me, I’ve had to work hard all the way through my career. I’ve been brought up on a council estate, my father had no money at all, he passed away when I was 15 or 16, and my mum left me when I was eight years old. It’s been tough.

“I respect the good things in life and try and keep my feet on the ground.”

Seven-time world champion Hendry and six-time winner Davis had criticised Selby for his characteristically gutsy nature in Sheffield.

He was branded a ‘dementor’ – a reference to Harry Potter – and a ‘vampire’ for consistently digging so deep, never giving in and sucking the snooker life out of his opponents.

Selby hit back at the claims and insists the only magic he’s interested in is casting a spell over his opponent on the table.

Asked if criticism of his style and approach bothered him, defiant Selby added: “Not at all.

“I don’t know what Steve means as I’ve never watched Harry Potter, and a vampire is probably down to my fangs with my teeth!

“I don’t know what they mean, but I’m sure they mean it in a nice way.

“I go out there and try my hardest no matter what – blood, sweat and tears and just try and go out there to win, give it my all and leave nothing out there.”

Selby, now a 20-time ranking event champion, went into the Bank Holiday Monday evening climax with a 14-11 advantage and hauled himself to the brink of victory with a typically gutsy display.

The nine-time Triple Crown winner struck five half century breaks and a brilliant 107 to open up his three-frame afternoon lead before continuing where he left off in front of a capacity Sheffield crowd.

Fans had flocked back to the famous old venue and breaks of 120, 69, 68, 66 and 62 took the Jester from Leicester to the brink.

Fired-up Murphy, 38, rallied as two consecutive century breaks gave Selby the finish-line jitters but the Midlands ace, the reigning European Masters and Scottish Open champion, held himself together to edge over the line.

Selby has suffered with bouts of depression throughout his career and has been open about going through the wringer on the recent snooker circuit.

But reuniting with top coach Chris Henry has given a shot in the arm to his progression and catapulted him back to the big time on the baize.

Selby has Judd Trump’s world No.1 spot in his sights and is lacking no motivation after further augmenting his trophy cabinet in Sheffield.

“A few years ago I had some really, really dark days and times were tough,” he added.

“All the family and everyone who’s close to me will understand what I’ve been going through, so this means a lot.

“My aim is to try and get back to No.1. You still have goals in your career – and one of them is to try and get back to No.1. I’m going in the right direction.

“Every time I win tournaments it makes me strive to win even more. There’s no better feeling than winning, especially when it’s a World Championship. How that feels with all your family and friends is the best feeling in the world.

“I’ll be trying again the next few years to come back and try and win it again. But if I never, ever win it again, to win four world titles is incredible.”

Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17- May 3