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Anderson admits the "nerves" are back!

Defending champ ready for stage fright

GARY ANDERSON has admitted that he gets “nervous” on the big stage again after his lengthy back injury lay-off.

The Flying Scotsman defends his Paddy Power Champions League title at the Morningside Arena in Leicester today (Sat).

Ando has been drawn in an ultra-tough group with Michael van Gerwen, James Wade and starts his defence against Michael Smith.

But he admitted: “After being off the tour for six months because of my back this year I find that I’m a bit nervous again now when I’m on stage.

“I used to be terrible for nerves on stage at the start of my career. You just get used to being on there after a while.

“Things like the Premier League help, because you’re constantly on the stage, week-in and week-out with big crowds, so you just don’t think about it as much. It becomes part and parcel of being a pro.
“But after having that break I feel a bit twitchy about it. It’s like learning again.”

Anderson, despite his long lay-off, believes he still has the ability to go all the way and win more majors this year.

He added: “There’s days that I play darts and they go absolutely brilliant. Then other days it’s like I’ve never thrown a dart before.

“But I think I can still win tournaments. This year has been a mess really. So next year I’m looking at starting from scratch again.

“I feel like I’ve missed three quarters of this year, it feels like I’m starting again.

“Sometimes it’s there but it’s not like it was before the back injury two years ago. 

“I still won the World Cup and that was me just coming back from injury so I can still do it. 

“I’m not bothered who is in my group, you’ve got to beat everyone. If the right Gary turns up they’ve got a problem. They might be thinking he’s struggling a bit but how is he going to play? If I come out firing on all cylinders, we’ll have to wait and see.

“Obviously I’ve got to look at my ranking right now, that’s the only thing that concerns me. I’ve been around a while. I might look at the European tournaments but being away seven days a week for 12 months might be too much.

“I’ll pick and choose and see what I can do if I’m playing well.”

Anderson defeated his World Cup-winning partner Peter Wright in last year's final, and the colourful Scot is determined to go one better this time out.

Wright said: “It was disappointing to get so close and not win, but my match in the semi-final against Michael van Gerwen totally drained me.

“I was well behind him and fought back to get through to the final and then only had a short break before I was back on again.

“I'm fed up of having all these runner-up prizes, I want that winner's trophy in 2019.”


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