INTERVIEW: Heta looks ahead to second season on PDC Tour after successful opening foray: “I’m not really a newbie anymore”
Damon Heta off the back of his brilliant Brisbane Darts Masters triumph lived up to expectation on his shoulders by heading to follow his darting dreams in England.
Heta played at the World Championship losing to Glen Durrant in the second round before winning through Q-School.
Ahead of his second year on the PDC Tour, ‘The Heat’ sat down with DartsNews.com to discuss that opening foray.
It was a debut season that saw ‘The Heat’ claim his maiden PDC title, reach two TV quarter-finals and establish himself in the top 64 of the PDC Tour. But after a poor World Championship, the fire burns for even more success.
“Had some down time so just been hitting the board. Definitely looking forward, hopefully I’ll obviously improve on last year,” said Heta.
“I think it was just a decent start that’s for sure. Obviously I let myself down at the World’s, I just put a lot of expectation on myself, probably so did a lot of other people.
“But I hope to smash it up a bit more than I did last year, knowing what’s going on and how it is. I’m not really a newbie anymore.”
World Championship defeat was a ‘learning curve’
In terms of the poor World Championship, he described it as a ‘learning curve’ and also discussed the victor, Danny Baggish’s Q-School brilliance.
“At the time, I was just really harsh on myself. I think that’s a big learning curve for myself I think. That’s all I’m taking that game as.
"Taking nothing away from Danny (Baggish), he hit the doubles and he won, fair play. He beat Adrian Lewis in the next round, he stepped it up.
“For him to get through Q-School, I was watching everyone obviously. But I was keeping my eye on Danny and to get through on both of the final days, that’s something else. That’s a fair bit of bottle so fair play to him.”
Q-School average broken and goals set out
Heta had his own Q-School recorded average record taken away from him with his previous mark of 113.21 from the 2020 edition bettered. This by Martin Schindler who hit 123 during this past week.
“That was always going to get beat. But that’s some pretty crazy darts that was.”
As well as his maiden title and various successes in his opening year, this was recognised. A Best Newcomer award at the recent PDC Awards but for Heta, it is all about continuing to reach his goals.
“You just do the best you can and you reap the rewards later. If I can just keep reaching my small goals and what I set out, I think I should be alright.”
Among those goals this year will be to reach the top 32, he admits and then establish new goals from there.
“Obviously my first goal was the top 64, I reached that within the first year so pretty stoked with that. My next goal is to get to the top 32 as quick as I can, and we will take it from there.”
Thoughts on Anderson remaining in Australia and Mathers joining the tour
Kyle Anderson is one Australian player that won’t be making it back onto the PDC Tour this year after deciding to relinquish his Tour Card. As one of his best friends, Heta believes it's the 'right call'.
“He’s put in a lot of time and effort for darts so I think that’s the right call. Especially on his family side, darts is still going to be forever and he’s only 33 so plenty of time if he decides to come back and give it another crack.”
But for Gordon Mathers, he will become the latest Australian to join Heta and Simon Whitlock – with ‘GG’ currently staying with ‘The Wizard’.
“I’ve been keeping in contact with him and my eyes were glued to DartConnect. I had two phones and an iPad going.
“I was just watching all the stats. Fairly stoked for at least one of them to get through. I think Gordon, he’s planned it quite well so I hope the best for him.
“For the other two boys (James Bailey and Haupai Puha), they’ve just been through a rough patch I think with travel because they were never meant to go to Q-School.
“They were taking the first flight home and that never happened. So I think there was a lot on their mind, I think it played its part.”
World Matchplay ambitions
With the news released regarding a roadmap for the exit of Coronavirus restrictions, fans could return. This could be timed with the World Matchplay.
For Heta, his goal is to reach every TV tournament and this also includes the World Grand Prix, which he missed out on by slim margins.
“I want to make every TV tournament for sure. Especially just missing out on the World Grand Prix by £500 pounds, it was killer. I’m always hungry and I’m always going to fight for it.”