It’s never easy to carry the burden of being a world champion in any sport, but now that Rob Cross has got that label off his back, he’s hunting a second PDC major title this week at the World Matchplay.
Amazingly, the 2018 World champion has never been past the last 16 in Blackpool in his time in the PDC and that’s a record he’ll be looking to put to bed against Polish upstart Krzysztof Ratajski on Wednesday night.
We managed to grab a few minutes with the ever-likeable Cross before the game and he hopes to bring a “more clinical” edge to his encounter with Ratajski than he did in his opener against Chris Dobey last Sunday.
“I feel I’m in a good place with my darts at the minute. I’ve got the family with me in Blackpool, I’m enjoying life and I’ve been practising very hard,” said Cross.
“In my win over Chris Dobey, he never really turned up on Saturday, so I was fortunate. I played all right, when I did get going. I was sharp and my finishing was good.
“I feel in a good place a for the tournament actually, I’m really looking forward to coming out and playing on Wednesday night now.”
When asked how he’s preparation had gone for the World Matchplay, Cross admitted he was a bit off match sharpness heading into the tournament. He’s raring to go now though, and he’s keen to concentrate on his own game.
“I’d probably say it’s down to me to maintain myself and keep focused,” said the world number two.
“I’ve done for the last three weeks, I’ve been practising and I’ve put myself in a good place leading up to Blackpool. I knew I wasn’t match fit three weeks ago, but at least now I feel ready.
I believe I’m going to play well every time I step up there now.
Asked about his upcoming last 16 clash with Krzysztof Ratajski, Cross was well aware of the danger the Pole represents.
“Krzysztof Ratajski is a great player, he’s very steady and solid, said Cross.
“His doubles are always good, he never falters on them and to be honest with you, he’s a tough opponent.
If I let him play and let him get into a flow, I reckon I could have problems in the game.
“But, the idea will be to just make sure I’m like I am normally against him. If I play my regular game, I’ll definitely come out on top. I need to be a bit more clinical and I need to start a little bit quicker this time because in the last round, in the first five legs I was very slow to get going against Dobey.
“I need to be a little bit faster out the blocks. If I do that, then I believe I’ll win.”