He is the second most successful player in PDC history and still just 28 years old. The future is set to be bright for James Wade, who is taking steps away from the oche to ensure that he continues to achieve more on it.
‘The Machine’, who has won seven televised titles, is sure he will add to his impressive collection of major trophies, but is not putting himself under any unnecessary pressure to do so, as he knows that he has time on his side.
“This is the laid back year for me,” said the world number three. “I am not setting myself any targets at all this year. I’ve got a few other things on my mind, which isn’t an excuse, but I’m not expecting too much. I know that I have got a lot, in terms of ability though, so who knows what might or might not happen.
“Having things sorted at home is massively important for me. At the moment I’m concentrating on doing that. I’ve started off a little car mechanics venture with my father, which is something I enjoy, and I’m having some building work done at home.
“Part of that is for me to have practise room for the first time ever. I know that’s what I need to do to keep improving and I’m happy to be getting things sorted out.”
Wade lost his first three matches of the 2012 McCoy’s Premier League season, prompting him to be written off in some quarters, but he bounced back with three consecutive victories to put himself into strong contention for a playoff place.
Despite suffering defeat at the hands of Phil Taylor last Thursday, Wade, who won the competition in 2009, is in no doubt that has the ability to go all the way once again.
He said: “I know I can win it, it’s whether I will or not that I’m not sure about it. I made it tough for myself again and that’s my own fault, but I’m back in the running now and it’s going to be a case of which James turns up every week.
“Then if I get to the finals, it’s which James turns up in that. But I’m happy to let people talk about their favourite forces. I’ll just do my job and hopefully I can upset a few people with good results.”
‘The Machine’ doesn’t believe that his early season form was caused by a hangover from his World Championship semi-final defeat at the hands of Adrian Lewis, who battled back from four sets down to win amid bizarre circumstances at the Alexandra Palace.
Wade remains confident that he will be crowned world champion at some stage in his career and insists that he is more than happy with his achievements so far.
“To be honest I don’t think that my form in the World Championship was that great,” said Wade, whose last four showdown was blighted by a draught on stage and late finish.
“I have to look back and laugh at the fact that I lost to Adrian in that semi-final. It is annoying that I haven’t been a world champion yet. It’s bugging me but I will win the tournament. It’s a case of when rather than if.
“I would love win it, but in all honesty, I wouldn’t swap a couple of World Championship titles for everything I’ve won. No way. I wouldn’t want to have two, or even three at the expense of the seven titles I’ve got. Of course I want to win it. If I don’t then I don’t, but I know I will.”
Despite that confident statement, the Premier League star admitted that self belief is something that he has found more and more difficult to have as his career has progressed.
He said: “My two happiest times, in terms of my career, were winning my first two major titles in 2007. I realised that I was good enough to be a successful professional player when I won the World Matchplay.
“Then when I went into the World Grand Prix, which became my second TV title, I knew I was going to win it before the tournament had even started. That was a really nice feeling. Unfortunately I have struggled to replicate that kind of confidence since then.
“It is my own fault and it’s largely down to commitment towards the game, but I’m getting that commitment back right now and hopefully I can get back to where I want to be.”
Where Wade wants to be is undoubtedly at the very top of Europe’s fastest growing sport, a sport which he feels should get the press coverage that its audience demands.
He added: “I’m sure people would happy to see some other sports have a little bit less coverage in newspapers to give darts half a page a week. Unfortunately, the people who make those decisions seem to be scared to try something new for whatever reason.
“It may be that they have an old fashioned attitude towards darts, but that fact that it is SKY’s most second watched sport is a little bit of an indication that there is a market for it in the written press too.
“If they actually went and asked ‘Joe public’ in the street, they would realise that they are missing out on quite a bit of exciting writing that people would love to read.”
‘The Machine’ is back in action on Thursday night when he takes on Simon Whitlock in the McCoy’s Premier League in Cardiff.
By Chris Murphy