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Cross opens up on mental struggles following world title triumph

Phil Lanning in Darts Interviews 29 May 2019
Cross opens up on his struggles (credit:Taylor Lanning)
Rob Cross admits he felt like a “zombie” with depression as he struggled to cope with the strain of being World Champion.
The Hastings star is back close to his best after reaching the Unibet Premier League final last Thursday, losing out to Dutch nemesis Michael van Gerwen.
But ‘Voltage’ has now reached both major finals this season, including the UK Open, as he battles back to the top of his game.
Cross helped launch the SAP Trophy on June 11 in Frankfurt which will see him line-up on a top bill with MVG, Phil Taylor, Peter Wright, Gary Anderson, Raymond van Barneveld, Mikuru Suzuki and Leighton Bennett.
He revealed: “I have to admit I had some very low moments last year. It was so surreal at times, like it wasn’t happening to me.
“I was a zombie for most of the year and when I wasn’t losing matches, it got me down. I was away from my family so much, my kids had lost the dad they knew and loved and I was in a bad place.
“I can’t even say I was depressed or what I was at all. I just was not myself and it was quite scary at times.
“I’m not afraid to say this but I was a novice World Champion. I was suddenly thrust into the spotlight and had so much expectation. 
“You have to remember I’ve still only being doing this for a couple of years professionally. I’m still so inexperienced compared to the top boys like Michael, Gary and Peter who have been around for years.
“That’s not a problem at all, that’s something I have to learn and deal with and I will. But last year was too much too soon and it rocked my whole life.
“I don’t think I was ready to quit but I knew I was very unhappy and this was not how I wanted my life to be like. 
“Thankfully I’ve got great people around me who helped me get back on the right way of thinking. They gave me space to work out what I needed to do to be happy again.
“I’ve taken a few breathers this year so I get to be with the wife and kids. I like walking the dog. I’m just a normal guy doing normal things. I’ve never been flash, I just want the simply life and security for my kids.”
Cross made a poor start to the final, allowing Mighty Mike to cruise into a 5-1 lead, but then showed a huge amount of fight to pull back to just 5-4 behind.
He added: “I showed a lot of adrenaline to get it back, I need that in my game. I had that earlier in the Premier League when they crowd wound me up in Holland. It lights a fire inside.
“Trouble was that adrenaline hasn’t been in my game for a while and that made me miss three darts to go level at 5-5.
“That probably cost me the game. If it had been 5-5 at the interval and not 6-4 to Michael, it was a different game.
“No excuses though. He was the best player on the night and for the entire league so it’s only right and proper he should take the trophy home.
“But I’m enjoying life. I’m getting better and I’m learning all the time. I’m still the novice really, I’ve still got to reach my peak yet.”
Frankfurt DartsSlam Battle of the Champions, June 11, SAP Trophy. Limited tickets (free to attend): sap.to/6014EYom4