Mensur Suljović: Players think training mentally for games is weak – it’s not

Known as "The Gentle" on the PDC circuit, Mensur Suljović has made serene progress to the top of the game and doesn't plan to stop...

PP: Every year crowds are getting bigger and the profiles of the player are growing. Is this a golden era for darts?

The difference is that now darts is no longer just a hobby, it’s work. I’ve never worked more in another sport than I’ve worked on playing darts.

It doesn’t have to do anything with age either, so people can play whenever they like, and it still can grow because it’s getting more professional.

PP: How much do you think darts is a skill and practise and how much is mental?

It’s 60 per cent practise and 40 per cent in your head.

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PP: How do you prepare mentally?

I had a mental trainer, Martin Winklhofer, and he told me what to do before a game, about all the routines, what to do, how to prepare.

Most of players don’t want to go to mental trainer because they think it’s weak, that it’s like going to a psychologist, but everyone’s got some sort of problem it could help with. Don’t mix up mental problem on stage with psychological problems. They’re very different.

PP: And how much do you practise?

I’d practise two-to-three hours alone, going through all the trebles first, all the cricket trebles, then all the doubles and that’s twice a day so that’s a lot to do.

PP: Do you have a favourite opponent to play?

I don’t have a favourite player because it all depends on the day, how I’ve slept, how I’ve eaten, how my routine is going, so it doesn’t depend who is playing against me.

I know if I am playing well it doesn’t matter who I play.

PP: How much of a loss has Phil Taylor been around the tournaments?

I feel a bit sorry that Phil is not around anymore because he could have played two or three years more.

But it won’t change much because there are so many new players coming in and everyone’s getting better and better, so personally, it’s a loss, but for the sport or because of the people who are coming, it’s not as much.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 20: Mensur Suljovic of Austria celebrates winning his first round match against Jermaine Wattimena of Holland during the 2016 William Hill PDC World Darts Championships on Day Four at Alexandra Palace on December 20, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

PP: You’ve had a late career upsurge, where do you want to go in this sport?

My next goal is to be top four. I hope I can reach that before I retire. It’s going to be hard.

PP: When do you think you’d retire?

I don’t know. Maybe after I’ve won the World Championship [laughs].

Mensur Suljović is 7/4 tonight as he takes on Peter Wright in the World Matchplay semi-finals

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