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New-look Adrian Lewis targets more magic at the World Matchplay

Jamie Shaw in World Matchplay 22 Jul 2020
2013 Matchplay finalist Lewis celebrates (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Adrian Lewis admits he feared this would be his last appearance in a World Matchplay, but now hopes to join the hunt for glory once again.

Lewis qualified for the 2020 Betfred World Matchplay as the number 14 seed, but his Summer Series struggles left him fearing for his darting future.

The Stoke ace showed signs of a return to form at the backend of 2019, reaching the Quarter-Finals of the Grand Slam and coming through a seven-set epic against Darren Webster en route to the Last 16 of the World Championship.

However, after four months without competitive action, ‘Jackpot’ saw his momentum halted and focused his efforts on re-energising himself during lock-down.

With the help of Tyson Fury’s workouts, the two-time World Champion embarked on a gruelling fitness regime and admits he is already reaping the benefits on and off the oche.

“I was thinking to myself, this could be my last World Matchplay,” Lewis told Live Darts.

“In the Summer Series, I was thinking, oh my goodness, this is terrible.

“It isn’t going to happen overnight, I know it’s going to take a bit of time.

“I was working out seven days a week, six days of circuits, which obviously got myself more fit.

“I was thinking about being more mentally fit than physically fit but I knew it was going to take a bit of time.

“I haven’t had a drink in over four months and I felt a lot better mentally, and that was the key.

“The likes of Matt Porter and Rod Harrington have been telling me for years but as a young lad you just brush it off, but looking back, what they’ve advised in the past they were damn right.”

Lewis’ mental and physical endurance was put to the test in Round One of the World Matchplay on Monday when he was taken to a tie break by fellow PDC stalwart Steve Beaton.

Lewis, though, dug deep to close out an 11-9 victory with his highest televised average (97.27) in 18 months.

He now faces Danny Noppert in the Last 16 and finds himself in a wide open bottom half of the draw which has seen the likes of Dave Chisnall, Nathan Aspinall and Gerwyn Price suffer early exits.

Lewis added: “It’s a different atmosphere up there, but on the other hand, it’s the same for everyone else and you’ve got to treat it that it is the World Matchplay.

“I’m playing well enough, I’m showing glimpses, but to win this tournament I know I’ve got to have my head on the whole way through.

“I’ve had to make a few slight adjustments because of my weight loss but I feel better for it.

“Danny has been playing well for the last 18 months, so that’s another match I will have to be up for.”