With the PDC World Matchplay taking place this week in Blackpool, we spoke to reigning champion Gary Anderson about his recent injury travails, spending more time at home and returning to the competitive fold.
Here’s what the Flying Scotsman had to say.
Paddy Power News (PPN): After an injury layoff, how are you feeling to be back now and playing games and winning again?
Gary Anderson (GA): The body’s fantastic. It had actually been going on for a long time and I thought it’d sort itself and go away, but it didn’t. I just prolonged the inevitable. So after the Worlds I just said I need to get this sorted and have a bit of time off…
Hell, I’m a bit rusty, I’m struggling a wee bit. I think it’s just going to take a lot of practice and a lot of time being back at the darts, playing in matches.
PPN: Did you miss the game, or were you glad of actually having the break?
GA: People say that, have you missed the darts? My answer’s been no, because I’ve actually spent time at home…
I reckon the last 10 years I’ve just lived out of a suitcase, probably longer than that. You’re on the road all the time and it was nice just to spend time. I’d just get up and get the kids to school and see them off to school in the morning, it was nice to see, where I don’t usually see that.
PPN: You’re the defending champion in Blackpool this week. Does that come with extra pressure?
GA: No, not really. A lot of boys say this – I always look at the rankings in two years’ time when we’re defending the title, that’s when it’s most important.
It would be great to come through and win it again back to back. It’s nice to do things like that, but my preparation, the amount of time that I’ve had on the practice board and at tournaments has been very little. So I’ve not actually put any pressure on myself. I’m thinking, “Look, I can only go there and try and see what happens.”
I know my game’s not as good as what it used to be and it’s going to take time. I might come good in the next couple of days, I don’t know, but you can only tell with time, it’s as simple as that…
I’ll need a heck of a lot of luck on my side to help me through this tournament, so I’ll just have to see how it goes.
PPN: Looking a bit more at the long-term, you’re also the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts title-holder. It would be nice to take that one home a second time…
GA: It would be. By then I should be 90 per cent better than what I am now. It’s just down to me getting on the practice board now and putting a lot of time in. It’s going to be hard work, especially for the rest of the year.
The way it’s been now, I’m thinking we’ll have to just look forward to next year and start from the beginning.