World champion Peter Wright won’t let lockdown burst his bubble as darts returns
World champion Peter Wright has set his sights on retaining his title after missing out on the international acclaim he would have received had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic.
The Scot was crowned world darts champion for the first time at Alexandra Palace in January, and would have been introduced as such at the US Darts Masters in New York and World Series of Darts events in Australia and New Zealand had the game not been brought to an unscheduled halt.
However, as he prepares to return to competitive action in the PDC Summer Series at Milton Keynes on Wednesday, Wright is not feeling sorry for himself.
He told PDC TV: “I practise hard enough, I can win it again next year and they can see me in Australia and New Zealand and everywhere else where we go to.
“Other players have done it in the past, I’d like to go and do it. I believe I can do it, but there are plenty of guys out there who will want to stop me, so it’s up to me to put the right practice in and the right preparation to do the right thing.”
Wright, who lies second behind Michael Van Gerwen in the PDC Order of Merit, is among a field of 128 comprising 117 PDC tour card holders and 11 PDPA associate members who will fight out the summer series over five days at Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, the new venue for the World Matchplay later this month.
The players, including Wright, Van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price, Nathan Aspinall, Gary Anderson and Glen Durrant, will remain within a bubble throughout the five £75,000, one-day tournaments.
Things are different now, it's not like the game we used to play.
Wright said: “I’m looking forward to seeing where my game is before the Matchplay. It’s going to be a different environment, all these rules and being in a big bubble, but at least we’re playing darts and we’re getting back to what we love.”
Lockdown could hardly have come at a worse time for Durrant, who topped the Premier League table when the calendar was suspended.
However, he is hopeful that the health and safety rules under which the event will take place may suit his style of play.
Durrant said: “I feel like I’m in good form – it just could be the person who adapts best. Things are different now, it’s not like the game we used to play.
“Just reading everything, health and safety is paramount for the players. We’re going to go into this bubble next week and it’s not going to be the same.
“People will need to adapt, people will need to change and even amend their game slightly. But my first thoughts were that it could suit my pace, it could suit my style.”