Michael Smith denies being “disrespectful” towards Durrant over Grand Slam comments

Jamie Shaw in Darts Interviews 02 Dec 2019
Smith has recorded back-to-back televised wins over Duzza (credit:Chris Dean/PDC)
Michael Smith insists he has not been “disrespectful” towards Glen Durrant over comments he made regarding the BDO World Champion’s involvement in the competition.
Smith, the current world number three, suggested in a previous interview with Live Darts that Durrant should not have been granted a place in the cross-code major as a BDO representative.
Durrant, who secured a PDC Tour Card at Qualifying School in January, is one of the eight BDO representatives in the 32-player field in Wolverhampton, having retained the Lakeside title at the start of the year.
The Middlesbrough marksman admitted he was unhappy with Smith’s comments and believes he should be shown more respect as a reigning World Champion.
Speaking to Live Darts, Durrant said: “I’m not happy with the way he spoke after the Matchplay and I certainly wasn’t happy with the way he spoke yesterday [Saturday].
“I just think I deserve a bit of respect and I just don’t like his interviews.
“I’ve not spoken to him today [Sunday] because I don’t want to.
“I thought I was a PDC player up there, I’m the proudest BDO champion, I’ve never said a bad word about them and never will.
“I gave the trophy back last week and I’m a proud champion but I was playing for myself up there.
“I got in through the back door, I appreciate that. Nick Kenny or Scott Waites could have been stood in my place.
“I wanted to win the Matchplay Semi or the Grand Prix Semi, that would have put me into the Grand Slam as a PDC player but I’m here as a BDO champion and am desperate to get out of this group.
“Michael Smith is an unbelievable player, a great lad and I like him a lot, I just think I deserve a little bit more respect and I didn’t like the words he said.”
Smith defeated Durrant 17-10 in the Semi-Finals of July’s World Matchplay and was a 5-3 winner in their group stage encounter at the Boylesports Grand Slam on Saturday.
Durrant battled back from the brink to defeat Germany’s Martin Schindler 5-4 on Sunday, while Smith registered the third highest average in the history of the tournament (113.62) in thrashing Nathan Aspinall 5-1.
Following that win, Smith responded to Durrant’s comments, defending his views: “I’m not being disrespectful, I think it’s just one of those things,” he said.
“For me, the Grand Slam is 32 players, if you get to a final or are a runner-up – you’re in.
“You can’t leave one organisation and come to another and expect to get in for the one you’ve just left, but that’s my opinion and it’s not only mine.
“There’s a lot of people who think the same and if he thinks it’s disrespectful, good luck to him.
“I’m not here to make friends.
“I like Glen, I really do, but I’m here to put food on the table for my kids, I’m here to win matches and to win titles.”
Durrant faces a straight shoot-out against Aspinall at the Aldersley Leisure Village on Monday evening for the right to join Smith in progressing the knock-out stages.
The pair could be on a collision course to meet again in the Quarter-Finals later in the week.