“When I found out I qualified, I broke down in tears” - Ross Smith reveals emotional comeback trail

A resurgent Smith celebrates (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Ross Smith admits he “fell out of love” with darts but has recaptured his mojo after battling back to reach the World Championship.

Smith made a promising start to his PDC career six years ago, racking up four Challenge Tour titles and making history by becoming the first player ever to hit a nine-dart finish on the European Tour.

The 29-year-old, however, has since struggled for results on the unforgiving ProTour circuit, and the emotional strain forced him to step away from the sport in 2017. 

The Kent ace returned to action in January to regain a Tour Card at Qualifying School and finished the campaign in 30th position on the ProTour Order of Merit, securing a first appearance at Alexandra Palace in four years.

"I packed in for at least two years," Smith told Live Darts. "It wasn't down to me playing badly or anything, I just fell out of love with the game.

"I've come back this year, I had a tough start to the year for personal reasons.

"When I found out I qualified, I broke down in tears at the service station on the way home, that's how much it meant to me.

"Sometimes you play for the fun, then all of a sudden it becomes a job and becomes really hard work with a lot of dedication and you forget why you fell in love with the game in the first place.

"I took a bit of time off and I've come back and I'm loving it again."

Smith marked his Ally Pally return with a 3-1 victory over Singapore legend Paul Lim to set up a Second Round show-down with world number five Daryl Gurney on Tuesday evening.

Smudger admits his outpouring of emotion was down to relief and believes he has more in the locker ahead of his crunch clash with the recent Players Champion.

He added: "I think it was my first win in a televised PDC event which is probably why I released a bit of emotion.

"It was a tough game because it felt like I was playing Paul and the crowd in a way.

"How I've been playing all year, I feel like I've got so much more in me and it's literally about taking it up onto the big stage which is easier said than done.

"I believe in myself, I don't want to be a number up there anymore, I want to actually do well and play the best I can.

"Daryl's a great player, I've known him for years, he's a lovely guy and I've got a lot of respect for him. 

"I don't think it matters too much who you play thesedays, the standard in the PDC altogether is that high and you've got to just go up there and play your own game."


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“When I found out I qualified, I broke down in tears” - Ross Smith reveals emotional comeback trail

Ross Smith admits he “fell out of love” with darts but has recaptured his mojo after battling back to reach the World Championship.

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