Cross reflects on “tornado” 12 months after surrendering his world title

Cross departs the Alexandra Palace stage (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Rob Cross admits he feels like his life was sucked up in a “tornado” after seeing the World Championship trophy snatched from his grasp.

The Hastings ace saw his dreams of a second successive Ally Pally triumph scuppered by a tenacious comeback from emerging star Luke Humphries on Friday night.

But Cross, who won in fairy-tale style a year ago after just 22 months as a professional, is adamant he will bounce back.

"I'm not going to lie, of course it hurts," Cross told Live Darts.

"It's a funny thing to think about when it will sink in. I don’t think it has truly sunk in that I actually won it!

"I'm not being funny, it's been a surreal experience. It was like I watched someone walk from my body last December and beat Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor and pick up that trophy.

"It has been a weird out of body experience in some ways. I’ve sort of watched the world whizz around me like I’m in some sort of liquidiser.

"I can't explain it properly. From last January I’ve been sucked up by some tornado of attention and expectation and I think I’ve dealt with it OK.

"You have to remember this is why I admire the likes of MVG and Gary Anderson. They have spent a decade or so building up to their World Championship wins. 

"They have learnt to deal with the pressures of being World Champion before it finally arrives. They sort of embraced their achievements.

"But for me it came in 22 months. It was like winning a game show or the lottery and suddenly being thrust into the spotlight overnight.

"That’s no problem for me. I know I can handle that pressure. But there are hidden pressures which you don’t know exist until you are in the limelight.

"For instance I was taken out of my family life overnight. I was there every morning, every night of my kids' lives. I would watch TV with them, see them in their beds before they slept.

"For a month after winning the Worlds I had hardly seen them. They don’t understand that, they just feel like someone has stolen their dad!

"I think they have suffered for my win in some ways. It’s given them financial security but not emotional security strangely. 

"This next few weeks will allow me to get back to basics of life and that’s vital for me and my family. I can re-group and become the Rob Cross I was a year ago."

Cross also reflected that he believes Humphries’ incredible comeback was probably inspired by his own world title win.

Humphries reeled off four consecutive sets from 2-0 down to dethrone the defending champion and pull off the biggest win of his career.

Cross added: "In a strange sort of way I was probably the victim of my own success. Maybe my biggest legacy is showing every, any player they can be World Champion.

"Luke's belief was incredible to come back from 2-0 down to win. It is possible that belief came from knowing what I did a year ago.

"I have nothing but admiration for him. He showed real bottle.

"I have the same aims. I want to be world number one, I know I can achieve that.

"Of course I will be back. This is a journey and it's only just begun for me. 

"It took the likes of Michael and Gary years to win world titles and get as high as world number two - I did it in 22 months.

"If I can do that, I can keep improving. I’ve spent the last couple of years building a really good set-up around me.

"I've got a phenomenal team of people, incredible sponsors who I work in partnership with and guide me.

"I think the top players will always say that the biggest burden of being World Champion is the media attention and extra commitments. I need my time back to concentrate on my game, me and my family.

"I know how to get the best out of me and that's what I will do."

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Cross reflects on “tornado” 12 months after surrendering his world title

Rob Cross admits he feels like his life was sucked up in a “tornado” after seeing the World Championship trophy snatched from his grasp.

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