German darts player warns of alcohol abuse in darts: ''It seems like 70 per cent of players are alcoholics''

Jochen Graudenz has been making a name for himself for some time now as he is one of the top players on the SDC Tour alongside Stefan Bellmont and Marcel Walpen.

At the beginning of the year Graudenz also played the Q-School, but it was not enough for a Tour Card. Among other things, this was due to a knee operation he had to undergo shortly before.

Because he tried his luck at Q-School, the German is eligible to participate in the Challenge Tour. An option he also takes advantage of. He is currently ranked 181st in the Challenge Tour Order of Merit, but the player from Baden Württemberg is not really unhappy with this ranking, as he knows the reasons for the big gap in his performance.

"Darts is a unfair sport", Graudenz opens the interview with "If you want to reach the top you have 70 percent of the top stars who are alcoholics. I played the youth national team and fortunately it 'clicked' for me."

"My health and my family are among the most important things to me," says the German, explaining why he does not touch a drop of alcohol, neither when playing darts nor in his private life. But why does darts so often turn to alcohol?

"Darts is 95 per cent head. When you play at home in your familiar environment you play great darts. When you go to a tournament you probably don't play great darts anymore because: 'Everything is strange here, I'm nervous, I'm playing against someone...'. And what's the best way to solve that problem? By just getting drunk. And I absolutely can't deal with that."

"A lot of young people come to me and it's really difficult to work with them mentally. They are already in some club. There's a good player and the young guy sees that he drinks. What does the young guy do sooner or later? He drinks too! Because he thinks it will make him better. That's certainly true in the short term, but the problem is that it affects your health. At some point it goes downhill physically."

Graudenz brought up some examples of PDC players where it is recognisable what can happen. The worst example he gave was a player who has cirrhosis of the liver. The affected player was encouraged to give up drinking, but when he kept his hands off alcohol he dropped down the Order of Merit. "He is now drinking again," Graudenz said.

Graudenz also talked about alcohol consumption on the Challenge Tour. Here it came to a match where the player from Baden Württemberg lost his match 5-4 despite an average of 96.

"Max (Hopp) said to me: 'It's not so bad. Look at that table over there. The next time he (Graudenz' previous opponent, editor's note) didn't play a 70 and lost 5-0. That hurts when you do a lot for it."

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PDC Challenge Tour interview

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