GARY ANDERSON admits that the coronavirus crisis has set him back A YEAR as he bids to get back to the top. The Flying Scotsman breezed through to the last 16 of the Betfred World Matchplay despite a sluggish start against Justin Pipe.
But he admits that lockdown has been a big blow as he was battling back to top form after missing the start of 2019 with a back and elbow injury.
He revealed: “Last year, I had so much time off and got back into it. I came back and was struggling, struggling, struggling, but then started to get better and enjoy it.
“Then we got hit again (with Covid), so I’m back to where I was a year ago. Interest has gone the lot, but I think the more we play, the better we will get.
“I scored really well last week and couldn’t hit a double. Against Justin, I could’t score or hit a double.
The Matchplay is in new surroundings of the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes due to the bubble conditions required to comply with coronavirus regulations.
With also no fans and not at the Winter Gardens, Anderson admits it’s a strange experience.
“It’s horrible, to be honest. It’s not the Matchplay.
When you stand up there and hear the singing, it’s good, then you turn around and there’s no-one there. It’s like the internet thing we played. Hard to get into.
“It’s like having the World Championships here. That wouldn’t be the World Championships. That’s Ally Pally.
“Blackpool is the Matchplay, Dublin is the Grand Prix, the Grand Slam is Wolverhampton. They have got their maps on the planet where they should be played.
“But I know the world is in schtum at the moment and, trust me, we’re all thankful we are all getting to play darts.
“I left my house and I got here in two hours and 10 minutes. The quickest I’d ever done Blackpool was nine and half hours. That’s the quickest ever to a Matchplay.
“The boys have had so much time off. Some lads who have just (come) on the scene can’t work and they can’t play darts, it’s hard.
“The PDC forked out a fortune to get the tournament on the go last week and hats off to them, so thanks very much.”
Anderson now faces James Wade tomorrow (Tues) night after he came through a thrilling clash with Keegan Brown.
“James said he wasn’t practising. He’d have been on that board 24/7 for the last four months!
“Keegan played well against him, but there was a leg where Wadey took out 107 and that’s what he does. You give him a shot and one of those stupid finishes and he’ll take it out. He’s done it for donkeys.
“I know what’s coming. We’ll see on Tuesday. As long as the crowd don’t give me stick like they did on Saturday!”
Pics: L Lustig / PDC