Mensur Suljovic on his rise through the darting ranks
'Darts is everything to me, it's my life'. Rod Studd sits down with man-of-the-moment Mensur Suljovic
By Sky Sports Darts
Last Updated: 06/10/17 8:35pm
Mensur Suljovic is a man on a mission, although while most wives would be happy to see their husband two matches away from a £100,000 first prize, the Austrian's quest of the World Grand Prix title has him in the dog house.
On the eve of the World Grand Prix Gary Anderson pulled out of the tournament with partner Rachel expecting their second child - the arrival of Suljovic junior came earlier this but his presence has been missed by Mrs Suljovic who has been taking on parenting duties alone while Mensur sets his sights on another major title.
"Reaching the semi-finals is a big problem for me," Suljovic told Sky Sports after beating Peter Wright on Thursday night.
"My wife is not speaking with me, my wife tells me everyday to come home, but I'm here and I'm playing."
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The tournament in Dublin was expected to be a procession for Michael van Gerwen, the world no 1 and the three-time champion who has reached four of the last five finals but Suljovic is the only remaining seed left in the competition and the winner of the last major televised title.
This season the 45-year-old Austrian has put regular victories against the biggest names on his CV, his victory over Wright was the second time over the last four weeks he has beaten Snakebite in a big tournament. He has gone from dangerous outsider capable of an occasional upset to major champion.
World Grand Prix - Friday's Semi-Final Order of Play (best of seven sets)
Simon Whitlock v Mensur Suljovic
John Henderson v Daryl Gurney
From the moment the strains of Tina Turner's Simply the Best get the crowd on their feet, Suljovic's joy every time he goes out onto the oche is evident and the Serbian-born Austrian nicknamed 'The Gentle' admits he can never have imagined where he now finds himself.
"Darts is everything to me, I play every day even on holiday! Darts is my life but I played darts as a hobby," he adds.
"I've been playing for 24 years, I started around 1993/94 playing electronic, soft-tip darts with friends in a bar.
"I never thought darts would become so big with money and everything that goes with it, for Phil Taylor and others it is just like football. For young guys now it is perfect."
I hit the 60 and then there was only a small chance for top-tops with the next dart. The first dart was good and the next…tops! I never play tops so it was good.
Mensur Suljovic on finishing tops-tops!
Having beaten Wright, Suljovic will next face a rejuvenated Simon Whitlock at the Citywest Hotel having also seen off Ian White and Steve West on his way the last four.
Just at the time the big prizes across the closing months of the season are being handed out, he is finding his very best form and on a consistent basis - the one thing he feels he is still lacking
"I played well in Cardiff and I never lost," he said.
"I never think I am going to win, I am a good player but these are some of the best players in the world, Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson, Peter Wright.
"I just go and play darts. For one or two days I am a good player, but for seven days I am not consistent, that is my big problem."
The consistency appears to be coming, another title and big pay-day may be just around the corner and hopefully that might just be enough to keep Mrs Suljovic happy.
The World Grand Prix continues live on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Main Event on Friday night with coverage of both semi-finals from 7pm.
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Follow the action from Dublin's Citywest Hotel through the week up to the final on Saturday, October 7 while for those on the move follow our live blogs at www.skysports.com/darts and get involved @SkySportsDarts