As a former World Championship finalist on both sides of the divide on Planet Darts, Simon Whitlock has never been short of a bit of magic to live up to his nickname.
Being an honest man though, the Wizard will tell you himself that there’s been a few tough years for him on the circuit.
However, he’s turned that all around this season, returning to the Premier League for the first time since 2014 and living up to his ‘beard to be feared’ reputation on Tour.
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We sat down with the man himself on the eve of the Champions League of Darts in Brighton and he told us that it’s great to be the man no one wants to play at the moment.
“My confidence is very high and I’ve been playing well for the last few months to be fair,” said Whitlock.
“I want people to be scared of me again like they used to be, that means a lot to me.”
“It sounds great to hear that other players think I’m the on-form player heading into the tournament.
Whitlock begins life in Group B with a meeting against his good pal Peter Wright and he admits he won’t lack in motivation to get one over on ‘Snakebite’.
“I’m good friends with Peter Wright, we get on really well actually. He’s beaten me the last few times we’ve played, so I want to get him back.
“I’m playing him first, so that adds a bit of motivation and I want to pay him back for the last few defeats.”
??? @paddypower @OfficialPDC @BBCOne @ModusDarts180 @LeylandTrade @DJShopDarts @Winmau , feel good for this event ? pic.twitter.com/3ZkKVAn8fS
— Simon Whitlock (@SWhitlock180) September 21, 2018
World title holder Rob Cross and 2017 Champions League champion Mensur Suljovic round out the group and the Australian star knows he’s got a long road to navigate to qualify for the semi-finals.
“Mensur’s the defending champion and it’s an extremely tough group, full of players in really good form. I’m up for the challenge though!
“I’ve had a couple of wins over Rob this year since he’s been world champion and I’m confident in all my matches, even against Rob.
“It’s always something in the back of your mind that you’ve beaten the world champion, it gives you confidence whenever you’re playing him.”
Whitlock also admits that he’s going all guns blazing to win his first game of the competition.
“It’s very important to win the first game. That’s the one, if you win that you’re well set I guess,” said The Wizard.
“I am a confidence player, a momentum player, once I get a win under my belt I seem to grow in confidence and things seem to work out well then.”Find the latest odds on the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts at PaddyPower.com