Brazilliant’s views on PDC Worlds debut, year to date and more
We are delighted to be joined by Brazilian ace Diogo Portela, who shares his exclusive thoughts to Sam Barnard for Darts World ahead of his Ally Pally debut, in Part 2 of our 2018 PDC World Championship profile/interview series.
Brazilliant, as he is aptly nicknamed, has made a real name for himself in 2017, both for being a trailblazer for Brazilian and South American players and a genuine prospect on the PDC circuit.
After narrowly missing out on a Tour Card at Q-School by just four points back in January, Diogo will be back for another attempt a year on following a fantastic groundbreaking season that has seen him reach the last 16 in the World Cup, qualify for a maiden European Tour event and win a number of local UK competitions, among many other achievements.
But 2018 Q-School will be at the back of his mind for now, as Portela is currently getting ready for the biggest tournament of all – the PDC World Championship – after triumphing in the first-ever World South and Central America qualifiers.
The Samba star discusses with us all of the above and more.
So, read on for our exclusive Diogo Portela interview and profile, the second in our series, ahead of the 2018 PDC World Championship from December 14 – January 1…
Diogo Portela profile
Date of birth: 12/06/1988 (age 29)
Place of birth: Rio de Janeiro
Based: London, UK
Walk-on song: Mas Que Nada by Sergio Mendes feat. Black Eyed Peas
Darts used: 24g DPC
Management company: Darts Performance Centre
Sponsors: Darts Performance Centre and Catdromeda
Twitter handle: @brazilliant180
Favourite double: 16
Favourite checkout: 112
Favourite tournament: PDC World Cup of Darts
Favourite country played in: England
Toughest player faced: Vincent van der Voort
Player to watch in future: George Killington
Sports/darts heroes growing up: Ronaldo, Raymond van Barneveld, John Part
Best mates in darts: All of them!
Favourite food: Brazilian barbecue
Favourite film/TV show: Friends
Favourite band: Not a music guy
Hobbies outside of darts: Watching TV series, travelling, poker
Current/previous day job: Maths teacher
Ultimate darting ambition: World champion
Diogo Portela interview
Firstly, many congratulations on reaching the 2018 Worlds. Describe how you felt after winning the qualifiers final to book your place at the Ally Pally for the first time?
It’s awesome! Can’t wait to be there, it’s probably the best achievement of my life so far.
Where exactly does it rank among your proudest moments in darts to date?
It’s definitely in the top 2, the World Cup was another special. I was proud of our performance in the first game [against Switzerland] to put Brazil on the map of darts.
But that was invitation and the Worlds is qualification. Not sure which one is better.
Did you feel any extra pressure to qualify, being the highest profile player in South America? And how did you manage to control any complacency going into matches?
Yes, I did. I had been practising really well, hitting 95+ averages all the time in practise, but it’s been 3 years since I played in a tournament in South America and I didn’t know what I’d face.
Then, just 2 weeks before the qualifiers I won 4 local comps in a row and got to the semi-finals of a Challenge Tour. That gave me the extra confidence I needed.
During the tournament I basically focused on my game, my arm, nothing else. Happy that it worked.
Have you made any changes to your routine leading up to the Worlds to get you as prepared as possible?
Not really. I’m happy with my practise and it works for me. It was hard to find it so no need to change yet.
I’ll be doing loads of local competitions to keep the match practise til then, but that’s all.
You finished the Players Championship season on a high, reaching the last 16 and beating top players Klaasen and Van der Voort along the way. After winning local events this year too, do performances like that give you even more confidence for your future in the sport?
Of course. I had a bad time this year when I lost 8 first round games and started to wonder if I was really capable.
Then I beat Michael Smith, won 4 local tournaments in a row, lost 3 European Tour qualifiers in the final and ended up in the last 16 of a Pro Tour event.
I’m sure now that the PDC is where I belong and it’s just a matter of time when it’s gonna happen for me, not if.
After achieving so much this year already, do you have any specific goals for 2018?
I cannot plan 2018 much further than January. The only target I have is to get the Tour Card at Q-School.
I don’t really care about what happens after that. My focus is 100 per cent on Q-School.
How are you enjoying life living in England? What are the main differences compared to Brazil, besides the weather! And what do you enjoy most?
I’m glad you said besides the weather! But to be fair I’m quite okay with it.
I settled down quite easy and quick and now I can’t handle the Brazilian weather for more than a week!
Apart from that, what I miss most is the food. Although I love the traditional fish and chips, and the English breakfast, I gotta say Brazilian food is something on the next level!
Also, even living in London, it seems that life in the UK is much more balanced between work and personal life. I quite like it. It’s more quiet, not as busy and ‘rushy’ as in Rio. More time to relax.
Do you think we can expect to see any other Brazilian or South American players have a go on the PDC or BDO circuits? Are there any names to look out for in future?
I hope so. I’m on a project to make darts bigger again in Brazil and South America, but it takes time.
Can’t say any names yet but there will be!
Do you know if there are any plans in place for Brazil to host PDC events in future?
No I don’t know really, but wouldn’t be lovely to have a World Series event in Rio, Copacabana?
I’d love that! Can you imagine?
And finally, do you have any favourite or standout memories watching the PDC World Championship in the past as a fan? And how excited are you to play at darts’ premier event in front of millions on TV?
I am a big darts fan and I have always followed darts. I’ve watched most of the games of all competitions on TV.
Regarding the Worlds, I think the John Part v Phil Taylor [in 2003] and Gary Anderson v Phil Taylor [in 2015] finals were the best matches I’ve seen.
Funny thing is I have been waiting 3 years to actually go to Ally Pally. I said to myself I wouldn’t be there if was not playing. Now I am!
I just wanna play my game, whatever happens after that it’s a bonus.
Many thanks to Diogo for speaking to us this week. Join us for part 3 of our PDC Worlds interview series next time, where we’ll hear the thoughts and views of 2014 BDO world champion Stephen Bunting.