Richie Burnett has had a colourful career, at times successful but often laced with controversy.

The Welsh ace opened up in a recent Live Darts interview. Burnett became a world champion in 1995, winning at the Lakeside. When he switched to the PDC and reached the World Matchplay final, he was one of the game’s top players. Injuries and erratic behaviour stalled his progress, however. A real nadir came in 2015, when the Prince of Wales was landed with an 18-month ban for cocaine use.

In his discussion with Live Darts, Burnett was open about the mental illness that has hampered him from the very beginning.

“I’ve always suffered with depression since I was young.

“Sometimes you just don’t handle things the way you should do,” he admitted.

“I’ve always been a loose cannon, everybody knows me as that, I’ve always been a bit wild, but I’m not a bad person.

“I just made a mistake and I’ve learnt by it.”

After the ban, there were questions asked as to whether we would see the two-time major winner on the darting scene again. Burnett wasn’t certain, either.

“How I’m still here, I don’t know. It was really hard to get through.

“Coming back from that I then had back luck with injury – my knee, cataracts in my eye, tennis elbow. It’s been tough but I’m a survivor.”

Arise, Prince of Wales

And survive he has. Now 52, Burnett has weathered the worst of the storm. If he can get back into the routine that took him to the top, the Welshman is sure that he can scale the heights once again before he retires.

“I absolutely believed I was [the world’s best player] for a couple of years,” revealed Burnett.

He added: “I feel as if I can play like that now! I feel free and I feel happy, I’m in a good place at the moment.

“I’m 52 so I think I’ve got a good eight years left in me, once I’m 60 I may drop down a bit but hopefully by then they’ll have a seniors tour!

“When I was playing at my best, my preparation was meticulous and then you just go through phases in life where things go against you and you can’t do that preparation anymore.”

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Author: Ed McCosh