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World of Sport

04th Jan 2022

Peter Wright’s post-match comments on Michael Smith deserve to be recognised

Patrick McCarry

Peter Wright

‘Snakebite’ knew he had pulled one out of the fire.

For the second time in three stagings, Peter Wright is the PDC world champion. The Scot rallied from 5-4 [sets] and 2-0 [legs] down to defeat ‘Bully Boy’ in a gripping ‘First to Seven’ final.

Shortly after he had been announced as ‘world champion’ for a second time in his career, Wright was caught for words as the enormity of his achievement caught up with him.

“Obviously, I’m over the moon. I’ve done it, but… [choking up] obviously me and Mike didn’t perform how we can. I can’t explain what went wrong for 90% of the match. I just kept swapping darts and trying to find something.”

Having banged in an incredible 24 maximum 180s in his semi-final win over Gary Anderson – a world championship record – Wright needed to hit a similar vein of form against Smith. He was averaging just over 90 for much of the final, though, and often looked ill at ease. The 51-year-old had admitted his knee was in a brace during the knock-out stages.

Peter Wright celebrates his world championship win over Michael Smith at Alexandra Palace in London, England. (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

Peter Wright pays tribute to Michael Smith

Wright admitted that the atmosphere inside Alexandra Palace ‘affected my darts so badly’ and said it may have been likewise for his English opponent.

“It’s not about me,” Wright said, “it’s about the future of darts. And this man, he let me in today. I shouldn’t have had the first set.”

“It will be Michael’s turn soon,” he insisted.

Moments later, when Sky Sports interviewed both men just beside the oche, Wright reiterated those classy comments about Smith.

“I just love him to bits,” said Wright. “I just feel so bad [for him] because I know that, as soon as he gets a major, he will just trounce everybody. You will. You will.”

To devote so much time of his two post-match interviews to praise his opponent shows just how highly Wright rates Smith.

Asked in the press conference that followed the live TV interviews if he would consider retiring from the pro game on a world championship high, Wright said there was no chance of that happening.

“I can win another three,” he declared, with a broad grin.

Earlier in the tournament, Wright said his decision to stay away from the hotel where many competitors were staying – and book an Air Bn’B instead – had helped him avoid the Covid positive withdrawals that took out the likes of Dave Chisnall and Michael van Gerwen.

To be safe, he might as well pre-book the same spot for the next world championship or two.