Michael Smith was utterly unplayable at times as he took down Callan Rydz to begin his World Grand Prix run. But a tournament he has often struggled in, he said that this is the first year he believes he can even win his first game.
"It's the first time in 13 years, I've packed for more than one day. You can see it, I want to do well, I want to win this event and first time in the right place to do it as well," said Smith post-match.
"Same as in football if you travel to a stadium you can't win in, it's always there and the World Grand Prix is one for me though. It's a dodgy tournament for me."
But after losing to Raymond van Barneveld in Amsterdam a few weeks ago, Smith said that acted as a catalyst to get back on the practice board and hit it hard.
"I've done it the wrong way this year and I finally realized when I lost to Barney last week in Holland, it really kicked me up the backside. I hate losing to him and it's giving me that little push that I need."
"The only thing i didn't deal with it well (as World Champion) is I'm trying to enjoy my life with it and trying to take time away with it. I've kind of balanced the enjoyment bit instead of work. That's a bad thing. I've learned a lesson."