Paddy Power: It’s the third year of the Champions League of Darts. You were runner up last year, what are your thoughts on the tournament and how do you rank it in terms of events, atmosphere?
Gary Anderson: Every tournament’s good now. It’s the top eight in the world, so it’s even harder than others. These boys can all play now.
The format doesn’t really affect me. You want to win every game anyway so you just concentrate on what’s in front of you and give it a good go.
It’s good that this is on terrestrial TV too. To get back onto every TV it’s good because people would’ve watched years ago and they might’ve lost track of all the dart players. They’d know the BDO players but never seen the PDC players.
It gives everyone a chance to see darts on telly.
PP: After a couple of stop-start seasons you scored a Major at the UK Open in March and you won the World Matchplay in Blackpool. What has that done for your confidence?
It’s all right, yeah, consideirng I’ve not been practising much. I’ve got a new little baby daughter so I’m more at home spending time with the family.
Confidence-wise, I just play darts. If I play well I’m going to win, if I don’t play well I’ll be going home and it’s as simple as that.
You turn up to every tournament you try to play well. You want to win every competition, so you just have to put in and see what happens.
I didn’t throw a dart for four weeks untill I turned up to Vegas and then it was on to Shanghai, played terrible, then I’ve not touched my darts until I played my first match in Blackpool.
But not practicing doesn’t really affect my play because the night that I play I’ll get there three hours, four hours sometimes, and if I can’t sort things out after 22 years playing, I’m going to be in trouble.
PP: How much of darts is skill and practice rather than mentality?
GA: It’s a bit of both. You’ve got to have skill with the darts and you’ve got to have the head for it as well. If your head’s not in the right place when you go on that stage you’re beaten.
Years ago, if I was behind 4-1 in a first-to-ten match, I’d have probably folded because I was behind.
Now, I can be 8-1 down but I still believe I’m going to win 10-8. That’s my mentality, it’s stronger.
PP: How do you strengthen your mentality like that? What’s the turning point then?
GA: You can’t, you just keep turning up. It just happens itself. It’s like you can be struggling and you don’t do anything different, you just find your game starts getting better and better until you end up putting them under pressure. You don’t actually go out to do it, it just happens itself.
One minute I’ll play great, the next minute I’ll struggle and I’m back to the mill again, so yeah, I never know until I get up there on the night. Your guess is as good as mine.
PP: Obviously, this year Phil Taylor’s left the sport, how has that affected the circuit or even you personally? Is there any extra pressure now that Phil’s gone?
GA: I miss Phil. Phil’s a legend in darts, he put the game where it is but we’ve got MVG now. He’s a pain in our backsides.
To even be in the top eight is quite a feat because, like I say, even the youngsters coming from Q school fancy their chances. You’ve got all the boys that you’ve played darts for years against and they still play well too.
Everyone can play the game.
There’s no extra pressure though. If I retired tomorrow and never won another tournament in my life it wouldn’t bother me, I’ve done well in my career and I’m happy with what I’ve done, so there’s no pressure, no pressure at all.
PP: You’ve said before that Andy Smith is probably your toughest opponent. Why is that?
GA: Well, he just used to have me in stitches. He’s a big, loveable guy, always having a laugh and then even if I played really well, even if I outplayed him, it didn’t matter, I was still losing. You know, I just could not beat him. He just used to wind me up and have me in stitches all through the game.
He just used to put me off my game and have me laughing about when he’d step in and beat me.
I should have known better, but I fall for it every time.
PP: Do you have a favourite player that you come up against?
GA: I like playing Michael. I know what I’m going to get, he knows what he’s going to get and it’s usually a cracking game. Win or lose you don’t care if it’s a good game well done to the winner unlucky to the runner up.
I just like watching him panic because I don’t think he likes playing me. I think he doesn’t know what he’s going to get which makes him a bit back-footed; he never knows how I’m going to play. If I play well he’s in for a game.
Dubai outside playing in a breeze we both averaged over 110, which was a cracking game. I do like playing Michael.