Whitlock sets sights on Premier League Darts return

Aussie ace Whitlock celebrates (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Simon Whitlock admits he would be “pretty disappointed” if he was to miss out on a place in the 2018 Unibet Premier League.

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The Australian ace has enjoyed a long-awaited return to form this season, picking up three ProTour titles and reaching the final of October's World Grand Prix.

Whitlock, Premier League runner-up in 2012, has not featured in the sport's elite invitational since 2014 - where he finished bottom of the table.

Having dropped out of the world's top 16 last year, 'The Wizard' has climbed back to tenth in the PDC Order of Merit and with the power to add at the World Championship.

Whitlock believes his hopes of making the elite ten-man line-up, which is to be announced on New Year's Day, will hinge on how far he can progress at Alexandra Palace.

"I think it all depends on this tournament," said Whitlock. "I need to go deep in this. 

"If they're not looking at me, I don't know why not because I've had a great last 18 months.

"I know what I can do on the dartboard. I'm still not at my best but I'm winning tournaments again which is fantastic because I had a two-year drought.

"I've won five tournaments in the last 18 months so the confidence level is great.

"I'd be pretty disappointed if I didn't get in."

Whitlock is among an elite group of players to have appeared in both a BDO (2008) and PDC (2010) World Championship final and is Australia's most successful darting export.

The 48-year-old endured a barren run of results between 2014 and 2016 but is now producing his best form on a more consistent basis, which he believes is down to going back to basics.

"I think going back to basics, winning some local tournaments, has helped me big time," he added.

"I had a really bad Premier League the last time I was in and that was due to an ear infection.

"I played bad for six weeks in a row, ended up finishing down the bottom and got dropped the next year, which knocked my confidence.

"I've worked really hard to get back to where I am now, I dropped down to 20th and now I'm back up to tenth, it's just been about hard work and determination.

"When I changed my darts I said it'd probably take me two years to get back, which is very hard to take, but I needed to change because I want to go to another level.

"Sometimes I've gone to that new level and other times I haven't but I've had to stay positive and work hard at the game because I still love it."

After opening up with a 3-1 win over Germany's Martin Schindler prior to the Christmas break, Whitlock will take on Norwich ace Darren Webster in Round Two of the World Championship on Wednesday afternoon.

Webster has proved somewhat of a nemesis to 'The Wizard' at Ally Pally, winning their last two World Championship meetings, including a 4-0 whitewash at this stage of the competition 12 months ago.

When asked if he was looking for a dose of revenge, Whitlock replied: "Definitely, it's payback on the short people!

"Darren has done me twice here but I beat him the last time I played him so hopefully that will be a good thing for my mind.

"I'm going to need my best game to beat Darren, without a doubt, he's a class player."

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Whitlock sets sights on Premier League Darts return

Simon Whitlock admits he would be “pretty disappointed” if he was to miss out on a place in the 2018 Unibet Premier League.

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