World Darts Championship: Michael Smith makes career comparison with Andy Murray after winning world title

World Darts Championship: Michael Smith makes career comparison with Andy Murray after winning world title

Michael Smith claimed his maiden world title and moved to world No 1 with a 7-4 victory over Michael van Gerwen in Tuesday’s final at Alexandra Palace; Latest success follows the Grand Slam of Darts win in November

New world No 1 Michael Smith has described himself as the “Andy Murray of darts” after ending his run of major near-misses to claim a long-awaited maiden World Darts Championship victory.

Smith had lost eight consecutive major TV finals before winning the Grand Slam of Darts in November, with ‘Bully Boy’ then producing a stunning 7-4 victory over Michael van Gerwen in the world final at Alexandra Palace to move top of the world rankings.

The long wait for success for major glory shares similarities with Murray in Tennis, who was beaten in four Grand Slam finals before eventually claiming three titles, with Smith – who had lost his two previous world finals – hailing the depth of quality within darts.

“I’m like the Andy Murray of darts!” Smith exclusively told Sky Sports. “He has come through with these three amazing players in [Roger] Federer, [Rafael] Nadal and [Novak] Djokovic.

“He managed to get Queen’s and then won the US Open, Wimbledon, and Wimbledon again and he had to work hard for that! I know he got to world No 1 and then unluckily for him he had his injuries, although it didn’t cost him his career as he’s still playing now.

“It’s like what we’ve got now. Back in the day it was Phil Taylor and someone who pushed him. Barney (Raymond van Barneveld) was there, Adie (Adrian Lewis) pushed him for a bit, then Michael (van Gerwen) came along, then you’ve got Gary Anderson, Peter Wright and Gez (Gerwyn Price).

“You’ve got really unbelievable players now where anyone in the top-32 can win a TV title and it’s not just Phil Taylor dominating the sport. The sport is wide open now, which is good.”

‘Unreal’ reaction to ‘special’ nine-darter

Smith sent the sporting world into a frenzy after completing a sensational nine-dart leg during the second set of an absorbing final, having watched Van Gerwen miss the D12 for a nine-darter of his own, with ‘Bully Boy’ among the millions to watch the moment back on social media since the final.

“It [Wayne Mardle’s commentary] was good!” Smith added. “When I watched that and he [Mardle] was banging on the table, that made it more special. I think I’ve watched the nine-darter about a million times on Twitter, with all the different reactions – it was unreal!

What’s next for Smith?

Smith will return to action at the inaugural Bahrain Darts Masters from January 12-13 ahead of the Nordic Darts Masters in Copenhagen from January 20-21, with the Englishman then featuring at The Masters from January 27-29 before playing in the Cazoo Premier League from February 2.

“I’m going to have a couple of days, fly off to Bahrain, then straight off onto the practice board – keep working hard and hopefully keep winning,” Smith said. “I’ll still play the same as what I did last year.

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