Michael Smith sat down with bet365 to discuss his career so far, getting into darts, and his desire to avoid becoming a nearly man in the sport.
'Bully Boy' picked up the game as a result of a cycling accident on his way to school, but with one of the most natural, smoothest throws on tour, it’s hardly a surprise that Smith took to darts as quickly as he did.
“I kind of fell into it,” said Smith. “Going to school on my bike, I broke my hip. I used to play rugby, but with a broken hip I couldn’t play the sport. My dad used to play in the house, and I hit my first 180 after three weeks and things went from there.
“I progressed quite quickly. After three weeks to hit the 180, it was about a year when I went into a youth tournament when I was 16 and I won that and won £100 and thought it’s better than going to school!
“I think it was a year after that I won my first men’s event and I got £1,000 and thought ‘I’m not going back’. It felt like it was something that came naturally to me and was giving me money from a young age so I stuck with it.”
Despite winning eight PDC Pro Tour events and four European Tour events, Smith has yet to hit the jackpot with a major, but is adamant it’ll come sooner rather than later.
“Winning a PDC major would mean everything to me,” said Smith. “I think I’ve served my apprenticeship now! I’ve won Pro Tours, European Tours, World Series events, it’s the biggest stage now where I need to start lifting the majors.
“When I beat Phil in 2013 in the Worlds, it was one game that got me further up to where I wanted to be. It got me into the public eye, it got me in the papers for beating Phil Taylor on the world stage, it got me noticed a lot more, even though I was already winning Pro Tours, so that was probably the biggest moment of my career.
“Looking back on the Worlds, every game I played was a good game and it would take something special to beat me, and Peter [Wright] did that, being 5-4 down he turned it on. I never dropped, he just went even better, and if you don’t take the positives it can ruin you so you’ve got to forget about it and look at it game by game.
“Looking at the week as a whole, it was a good week for me. It’s my second final, hopefully the third time is when I lift it.
Smith has been accused of lacking the sufficient mental fortitude to lift the big ones in the past, but having made finals, Smith expects the trophies to follow.
“The motivation’s always there, especially after the first one when I lost to Michael,” said Smith. “It was about whether I could get back there or was it a one-off, but I did it again three years later. Hopefully I don’t have to wait another three years!
“It’s a long time away, but by the end of my career I want to be known as one of the best players in the world. I don’t know want to be a nearly person. Terry Jenkins lost in so many finals, I don’t want to be remembered as that.
“I know I’ve got it, but I’ve still got 20 years left, as long as I win one I’ll be remembered up there, but I’ll win more than one. As soon as I win one, I’ll get more, and hopefully go down as a future Hall of Famer.”