After an enforced lay-off with a back injury, darts fans had their fingers crossed that Gary Anderson would make it back in time to defend the World Matchplay title he won for the first time in Blackpool last year.
Thankfully, they needn’t have worried, as an injury-free Anderson has made his way back to Planet Darts in recent months and even picked up silverware at the recent World Cup of Darts event – along with fellow compatriot Peter Wright.
The Flying Scotsman has also made a winning start in Blackpool taking out Dutch star Danny Noppert in Round 1, and we were lucky enough to grab a few minutes of his time to find out how he feels after returning to the big stage with a win.
Anderson is never one to hide his feelings and he told us that he’s currently involved in a battle to settle his nerves since his return to the oche.
“I felt nervous, it’s been a long time since I felt that.,” said Anderson about his opening win over Noppert.
Usually, I get nervous in the walk on, but once I get on stage I’m alright.
“But, even doing a few World Series events of late I’ve been kind of feeling it with the old nerves on stage. I think it just comes from being off for six months and being away from it for a bit.
“It feels like I’m starting again, but we’ll get there. I’m sure that will go and I’ll get used to it all again. The quicker it disappears the better for me anyway.”
After an impressive (and shock) first round victory over Nathan Aispinall, veteran operator Mervyn King provided the opposition for the world number three, and Anderson was quick to recognise the dedication of his opponent in Round 2.
He also knows he needs to be ready for a slugfest with the man known as ‘The King’, even if he is a heavy 3/10 favourite for victory in the contest.
“It’s a while since I’ve played Mervyn to be honest, but I’ve known him for a long time,” said The Flying Scotsman.
“I’ve always said if you walk into any venue for a tournament, Mervyn is the first one in the practice room on the board.
It just shows you how much he still loves the game.
“It’s going to be a tough one, he’s playing really well. He was great against young Nathan Aspinall. We all thought that Nathan would wipe the floor there given how he’s been playing, but Mervyn turned that one around. He was getting 180s and big scores at the right time, so he definitely playing well.
“Every game is tough nowadays, so this will be another hard one for me.”
* All odds correct time of posting.