Michael Smith is a player that has had huge potential for a number of years now, and with a number of European Tour titles and Players Championship titles to his name, He is feeling ready for the next chapter in his career. In an exclusive interview with the St Helens ace earlier in the week, Michael opened up about his urge to claim his maiden TV title and feels he is now ready to do so. With the World Grand Prix in Dublin in just a few weeks, It could well be Smith’s time to shine.
Thanks for taking time for a chat Michael, With the TV events coming thick and fast how much are you relishing the opportunity to go on and win your first TV title ?
” I’ve been relishing this idea for years now but I wasn’t the player back then as I am now. I’ve always had the ability but maybe mentally I wasn’t quite there. I’m ready to win now. ”
The World number eight has found some great form over the last six months or so and admits he had suffered a dip in form in 2016.
You’ve had a superb return to form over the last six months after suffering a dip in form, have you changed anything about the way you approach the game ?
” Nothing has changed. I’ve just kept my own belief that I am one of the best players around and it was only a bad patch. I think that is a test of my self belief and character. ”
You’re finding some great form on the European tour as of late, It must give you great pleasure ?
” Yes, it gives me great pleasure as last year was a struggle at times for a variety of reasons and seeing my hard work paying off gives me some satisfaction as I know I work hard. ”
You have matured as a player since winning the PDC Unicorn World youth title back in 2013, when did things start to click into place for you ?
” I’m not sure as the way I’m playing now I’ve always played! It’s just started to happen on the floor and I can’t wait till it hits the stage then a lot of people will be in trouble. ”
You have been under the guidance of Tommy Gilmour and Gary Anderson for some time now, just how much have they helped you in the early stages of your career and now ?
” The early part of my career was a massive help because they sent me around the world. My parents worked so many jobs so I could just play England and try to live my dream and they helped it become a reality. We really are a team at Dunvegan, whatever the problem someone is there to help and it’s great having that back-up. ”
With the standard of players rising and rising, does it make you produce better performances ?
“ I don’t know. Maybe? We just can’t turn it on people say you can but you can’t. Evert game you want the 110+ and win but it doesn’t always happen. It’s just knowing no matter how well someone plays that’s it’s not well enough. ”
You’ve risen to number eight in the PDC order of merit, what is your next target ?
” I was number seven at one stage. I will be number one and World champion, that’s my dream, that’s everybody’s dream and I was only 6 places off being number one . ”
Your Semi-Final at last weekend’s German Darts Grand Prix was a terrific battle with Michael van Gerwen, he’s a player you have produced some of your best performances against. Is there any particular reason you enjoy playing him ?
” He’s one of only a select few players that will get on with the game and do what he does best and that’s throw darts, not dance about or try to put you off with antics. He knows his ability and like myself is good enough. we don’t need to try and put someone off because we don’t believe in our own game. ”
You have been with Unicorn Darts for a number of years now, last year you tinkered with your set-up slightly, you’ve now switched back to your original setup. Is it good to make small changes in your equipment from time-to-time ?
” I only made the switch because I was struggling. I did it to make me miss my old darts which I did. ”
With Phil Taylor calling it a day at the end of the year would like to play him on the big stage one last time before he retires ?
” I’m not really fussed to play Phil again or not. He will be sadly missed but the show must go on. ”
Smith is certainly a force to reckoned with, and his first TV title is long overdue with the talent that he possesses.