Hopp insists he ‘can handle the pressure’ ahead of World Grand Prix debut

Germany's Hopp reacts (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Max Hopp admits he has put himself “under too much pressure” in the past but believes he is now better equipped to deal with the demands of being Germany’s top darter.
 
Hopp has carried the hopes of a growing darting nation on his shoulders since bursting onto the scene as a raw 16-year-old talent in 2012.

After struggling to fulfill his potential amid the added weight of expectation, Hopp has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2018, winning the German Darts Open to become the first German to claim a PDC ranking title.

The 22-year-old also reached the Quarter-Finals of a further European Tour event and a Players Championship, as well as a run to the Last Eight of the PDC World Cup alongside compatriot Martin Schindler.

Hopp admits he has become accustomed to dealing with pressure but admits he is still lacking crucial consistency.

"I struggled a bit last year and didn't qualify for the World Championship, which was very bad for me," he told Live Darts.

"But I know the reasons for it and I probably put myself under too much pressure at times and I know how to handle it now.

"The European Tour event I won in Saarbrucken was a great breakthrough for me but it's not everything and I still need more consistency in my game.

"I'm doing different training routines now and preparing for the World Grand Prix which I hope I can make an impact in a major tournament."

Hopp is one of nine debutants in this year's Unibet World Grand Prix and has been handed a First Round clash with eighth seed Dave Chisnall.

The German ace will head to Dublin to compete in the two Players Championship events that precede the double-start major and is hoping to make an instant impact.

"It's a short format, best of three sets, and double-in, double-out, which we are not used to," added Hopp.

"I'm going to prepare well on the checkout routines, you need to decide on your favourite double like Mensur does on double 14.

"We've done a special programme for Dublin, so practicing the 61s, 67s and the very important checkouts and I'm going to focus on three doubles but I'm not going to tell you what they are!

"It's really good that we have the Players Championships before the Grand Prix so I think that helps a lot in terms of confidence.

"You can also see the form of your opponent and if he doesn't have a good weekend, you fancy your chances."

Hopp is currently ranked 38 on the main Order of Merit, 12 places ahead of his in-form compatriot Schindler and within sight of a coveted top 32 spot.
 
Hopp is guaranteed a place in this year's World Championship and is aiming to break in to the top 32 for the first time in a bid to be seeded at Alexandra Palace.

He added: "I want to try and get in the top 32 for the World Championship, if you are in it it's a big bonus this year because you start in the Second Round and have more time to prepare for your game.

"It think it's forty or forty five grand [gap to 32nd] so it's quite an ask to do that but who knows, the big tournaments are coming now.

"The majors give you the most chance of making steps in the rankings and we have four ProTours left, let's see if I can do some damage there.

"Now's the time of the year to be ready and to be fit and I hope I can show it on the stage." 



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Hopp insists he ‘can handle the pressure’ ahead of World Grand Prix debut

Max Hopp admits he has put himself “under too much pressure” in the past but believes he is now better equipped to deal with the demands of being Germany’s top darter.

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