Not many people would have predicted that Simon Whitlock would be Premier League leader at any stage.

Yet, after three weeks, that’s what the Wizard is. Not just that; he has won all of his first three games. Whitlock takes on fellow unbeaten league leader Michael Smith in Berlin next. Before that match, the Australian spoke of his delight at sticking it to the critics.

“A lot of people doubted me about being back in the Premier League but I believe I deserve to be there,” he said in an interview with Live Darts.

“I just want to prove everyone wrong, same as Michael Smith. We got a chance to get back in the Premier League and we want to prove everyone wrong.

“I’m really confident, the darts are going great and there’s no pressure on me now.”

Whitlock’s last Premier League campaign, in 2014, was nothing short of disastrous. It prompted a major drop in form and confidence. But the Hornsby thrower bounced back. He reached the Grand Prix final in 2017, and has returned to the top ten in the PDC Order of Merit. Start small, the Wizard suggests.

“I went back to my local tournaments and started winning those. There’s a lot of other players who have gone down the rankings and are doing the same thing as I am,” he advised.

“That’s the way you have to do it. You can’t just go straight back to winning tournaments. You have to go back to your roots and start winning the little ones before you can start winning the big ones.

“It builds the mind and the confidence so I’d recommend it to everyone.

“I’ve said it to all the old boys like Andy Hamilton and Wes Newton – get back to winning the little ones then you can win the big ones.”

“It’s going to be great”

Whitlock is looking forward to locking horns with Smith in Berlin. The German capital is the newest venue to host Premier League Darts. And the early Premier League leader wants to continue proving his worth.

He said: “It’s going to be great. The German fans have been really good to me so far and hopefully they get behind me and I’ll have another win!”

“I’m still wondering how I’m top of the table at the moment because normally it’s Gary [Anderson] and Michael [Van Gerwen] but now it’s myself and Michael Smith – which is amazing.

“We were talking 12 months ago and we both said we should be in the Premier League, they didn’t select us but they’ve put us back in for a reason and now we’re proving ourselves.”

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Author: Edward McCosh