An emotional Shaun Murphy described the way "super-granite" Mark Selby "broke" him over the course of the World Snooker Championship final at the Crucible.
Selby sealed his fourth World Championship with an 18-15 victory over Shaun Murphy in front of a packed crowd in Sheffield on Monday night.
Having won in 2014, 2016 and 2017, Selby ended his four-year wait to move level with John Higgins on four world titles when halting a late Murphy fightback in a thrilling final session.
Murphy looking forward after he 'fell out of love with snooker'
Murphy, the 2005 world champion, paid tribute to his friend's mental resolve and toughness, while opening up about how difficult everything has been for him.
"Mark is super-granite, unfortunately for me," Murphy said in his post-match speech at the trophy ceremony.
"Unfortunately for me, I've known him since we were nine years of age and he's always been the same.
'Selby stopped Murphy from playing' - White on what decided final
I started well but he went into super-hard mode. He broke me last night with that three-frame lead which was a tough lead to give him in a match of this calibre.
"Life has been difficult for everybody over the last 12 months but I want to say a very deep and personal thank you for every one of you who has bought a ticket over the last 17 days.
"Sport is nothing without fans and we've been thrilled to have everyone back and a full house tonight. It's been very tough for me this year with the travel restrictions but you've brought me back.
- 'He hid round the corner!' - Selby reveals bizarre distraction on final black
- 'That ain’t right' - O'Sullivan on 'wrong' Selby re-spot: Was it unsporting?
- 'Spine-tingling!' - A Crucible atmosphere to remember: How fans celebrated final
'Selby is willing to wait longer than everyone else' - Murphy
Selby added: "It’s absolutely incredible. Every time you get to a world final you always try your hardest – it’s such a tough tournament to get there and you never know whether it’s going to be your last.
"I thought Shaun played fantastic all the way through the match. He’s a great, great player, a great ambassador for the game. I truly believe he’s back to where he was."
Selby picked up a £500,000 winners’ cheque in the process, and now has only Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Ronnie O’Sullivan ahead of him in terms of Crucible triumphs.
Why Selby’s unapologetic pursuit of greatness gives snooker headache
World Seniors Championship
World Seniors Championship - White and Hendry among snooker legends eyeing glory