Premier League newcomer Nathan Aspinall admits his debut campaign has been the ‘hardest mental test’ of his career so far….
Premier League newcomer Nathan Aspinall admits his debut campaign has been the ‘hardest mental test’ of his career so far.
Aspinall secured a coveted spot in the Unibet Premier League courtesy of his UK Open and U.S Masters triumphs last year and has enjoyed a superb season so far.
The Stockport star occupies third spot in the league table with just three nights of action remaining before the cut off for the play-offs next month.
Aspinall has held a top four spot for ten of the 13 league nights so far and is one point clear of defending champion Michael van Gerwen in fifth.
Despite late trouble on the doubles, ‘The Asp’ held on to clinch a crucial 8-6 victory over Gerwyn Price on Wednesday, and afterwards spoke of the mental resilience required to succeed in this long-haul competition.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, mentally, in my life,” admitted Aspinall. “It’s so hard.
“I want to win it, I want to be in the top four and I want to beat the best players in the world.
“This last seven days, people can’t understand how hard it is for us guys, it’s mentally draining.
“It’s not the hardest job in the world, but mentally, day in, day out on that stage you have to perform to the best of your ability and it’s tough.
“It just means so much to me, it’s a long time away from the family and it’s mentally challenging.
“I’m certainly getting my money’s worth, I think I’ve played nearly every leg possible over the last week!”
The 29-year-old has been involved in numerous close-run contests in Milton Keynes, with each of his last six games having gone the distance.
He boasts a tournament average of 98.4 and is now odds-on with the bookmakers to secure a place on finals night, which is scheduled to be held at London’s O2 Arena.
Aspinall added: “I needed that win [against Price] after a disappointing three days.
“I didn’t perform to my best against Michael [Smith] and I felt like I should have beaten Van Gerwen.
“It was important to come back and get two points to keep me in the run-in for the top four.
“You can’t celebrate too much because there’s another tough game the next day but I think if I can beat Peter [Wright] – I’m nearly there.
“I really want to do it, I believe I’ve got the game to do it and I think the way I’ve performed this year, I’ve played well enough to make the top four.
“If I could do it in my debut year, I’d be very happy, then it’s all down to one night.
“If I wasn’t to make it, it’s still been a great first Premier League and all I’ll take is positives from it.”