In the calendar, the World Matchplay is the second-highest profile event after the World Championships, so winning it was amazing.
It’s always been a special one for me, even if I couldn’t get past the second round.
Once I did I went on and won it.
But it was different, winning a major this time – when I won it I got to enjoy it afterwards! That made a change.
When I won the Worlds, it all went by so fast, you’re pulled this way and that, and you can’t take it all in.
Everything was so flat out after it.
It was great winning the Matchplay this year and getting the time to enjoy it.
Timing is everything
I came in at the start of 2019 and knew what was coming, unlike 2018. Playing every tournament that year, it helped me because it gave the experience but I struggled with it at the time, trying to play everything, wearing myself out.
But I knew I needed to take time off this year and missed a few competitions. It was to give myself a break, to go home, see the kids and make myself feel normal again. That’s what we’re always looking for.
At times, I’ve probably taken too much time off, but it’s all trial and error because it’s only my second time this year doing the full schedule. It’s finding a balance really.
Darts is all about timing – hitting your shots at the right time. When you’re match sharp it’s a lot easier to do. When I’m playing without that sharpness, it’s a struggle. Being away from matches you can lose that, and you can practice all day long, but it doesn’t make you match sharp like playing matches every week.
But this time of year is the business end. What happened in the last nine or ten months is irrelevant now.
I’ve done alright in 2019, but it’s time to kick on. TV events come every week and it’s the most important time of the year to add to your world ranking.
Not the Muppet show
This week, it’s the eight top players in the world. That adds a bit to it. There are no muppets in this. You must play well.
I know if I don’t play well, I’ll lose. I have to pull my socks up.
This year it’s probably stronger than in 2018. If you look at everyone in it, Gerwyn’s here, Wadey’s back in it. Every game is going to be close.
The Champions League is illustrious. It’s a sign of your progress if you can do well here. It’s very hard to win.
I played it last year, maybe I wasn’t in great form at the time, but I loved playing and this year I’m looking forward to showing myself in a better light and playing my game.
If I do that, I’ve got a massive chance of winning. Everyone else here will feel the same.