Michael Smith: My Champions League 2019 player’s diary

The Bully Boy's letting us get a peak inside the tent of the professional darts world.

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Sunday night

I’m just really disappointed that it ended that way. It got away from at the start and that’s what cost me.

It’s a real letdown. I’ve put in another strong performance here and thought I could go all the way.

I know if I can play like I did in the group I will get over the line in a tournament, so I take encouragement from that. I’m happy with how I played up until tonight.

PADDY POWER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OF DARTS 2019
MORNINGSIDE ARENA,
LEICESTER
PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
GROUP MATCH 3
MICHAEL SMITH V JAMES WADE
MICHAEL SMITH IN ACTION

Sunday afternoon

I’m delighted to have beaten James to get through to semi-finals. It’s a great result for me as I didn’t make it out of the group stage the last time I was in it.

There’s a quick turnaround for the second session playing when you play last in the early so I’ll just take it easy, spend some time with my kids and practice a bit.

But I’m looking forward to the semi-final against Peter now. I’d love to go all the way in this now and wear the new belt like a boxing champ. That’s what I’m aiming for tonight. I know I can do it.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 23: Michael Smith of England walks onto the stage prior to the secod round match against Rob Cross of England on day ten of the 2018 William Hill PDC World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace on December 23, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Saturday afternoon

I’ll just sit and chill between the sessions after winning. My kids Michael Jr and Kasper have arrived to watch me play, so I’ll spend a bit of time with them. They’re probably going to go back home, then I can have an hour in bed, a quick shower, and then come back over.

It’s a bit unusual to have to play another game so soon, the European Championships and the UK Open have you playing two games on the same day, but you still get enough time.

I’ve about five hours or so, so I get two hours to chill and then three hours back for practice – well, maybe there’ll be no practice and I’ll just talk rubbish for a couple of hours. But it’ll be fine.

PADDY POWER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OF DARTS 2019
MORNINGSIDE ARENA,
LEICESTER
PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG
GROUP MATCH 1
GARY ANDERSON V MICHAEL SMITH
MICHAEL SMITH IN ACTION

Hit the bullseye with PaddyPower.com at the Champions League of Darts

I expected to finish the nine-darter I was throwing so well. Both 180 sat perfect, dropped right in the middle of the bed. I did have in my head that I’d turn to the crowd before the ninth dart and ask them to go halves!

But I was glad just to win the leg. missing out wouldn’t affect me in the match though, I would’ve loved it for the fans, but I’m on to the next thing.

It’d be great if they shared it with me if I’d have hit it!

I’ll just take it as it comes.

In the next game I might not get those chance, so it’s just up to me to not let them get those chances. I have to makes sure I hit them and play like I did in the second session rather than the first. I could end up playing MVG if he wins – but then I was probably expected to play Wade according to the bookies because Gary was favourite.

I don’t really give a monkeys who I play now.if I play my game and do what i can do I’ll win 90 per cent of matches. It’s only Michael, Gary and Rob are really on their top game that they can beat me at my best.

Whoever I play next they better be 100% because I’m coming for them.

Hit the bullseye with PaddyPower.com at the Champions League of Darts

Saturday Morning

I went to sleep around one in the morning, that’s my usual. I’d set an alarm and plan to be up at least five hours before I’m due to play. Have the usual routine of shower, dressed. I don’t bother with breakfast on match day.

I always think, when you’ve nervous it’s because you’ve got energy to burn. If I’ve not eaten, if no food for nerves or adrenaline to feed off.

I’ve done it for about ten years now. The only difference is for the Premier League because I’m playing so late in that.

Then I get to the venue four hours before I’m to play then use the time to practice. An hour, 20 minutes off, an hour, 20 minutes off. Then another hour’s throwing and it’s not long til I’m due to play then.

Then I’ll just sit and chill out, try not to be too focused on the game or get too tensed up. I’d listen to music, it’d take my mind off the game. I listen to anything. Boyce Avenue are a band who do all covers so I listen them as you get different types of music.

You’re not straining your brain that way. It’s stops the thought of the match just expanding in your head.

Then, when they shout game on, you’re all fresh and ready to go!

Friday

The first thing I need to do the day before is find out when I’m on! I just know I’m playing in the afternoon, but not sure what time.

We get some time in Australia and New Zealand because we’re there for three weeks, and you get a few days to forget about the world and do what you want to do. but we’ve four or five days in most things.

It’d be nice just to win something this weekend, to finally get over that hurdle. Obviously, with it being the best eight players in the world that would make it special.

But I just want to win a tournament, I’m not going to be greedy and pick and choose what I do, I just want to get my first major.

Hopefully, things go from there.

Every match you just want to go out and win as a player. You know you’ve three matches here, you but you just want to win them all and then you’re into the semi-finals.

You don’t have to win them all because there’s the group stage, but it’s nice to go into the next round winning them.

Hit the bullseye with PaddyPower.com at the Champions League of Darts