Peter Wright insists he's got the game and belief to claim World Grand Prix glory
"Obviously Max Hopp is a fantastic player. In my mind I am playing better than anyone so it doesn't really bother me"
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 06/10/19 11:20am
Peter Wright is relishing his World Grand Prix return after a couple of near misses in recent years and he insists he has the game to overcome the "special" duo of Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson in Dublin.
Wright, a quarter-finalist in 2017, lost out to Van Gerwen in last year's final - the first time he had progressed beyond the last eight in this tournament throughout his career.
'Snakebite' is still yet to add to his solitary major triumph at the 2017 UK Open, although he has performed superbly over the last four months to maintain his place in the world's top eight.
The 49-year-old takes on former World Youth champion Max Hopp in his opening-round tie on Monday and he is confident of producing more memorable moments in Dublin.
"It was good memories there last year," Wright told the Darts Show podcast.
"It was good to beat Mensur in the semi-finals, because he had a brilliant record against me on TV and it was just turning things around.
"Obviously Max is a fantastic player. In my mind I am playing better than anyone so it doesn't really bother me who I play."
The former UK Open champion is typically bullish when discussing his title prospects but he has every reason to be confident, having enjoyed a welcome resurgence following a disappointing Premier League campaign.
Since June, the Scot has scooped four titles, while delivering a series of scintillating performances in the process, and he maintains he can add to his major tally over the coming months.
"I believe I can go and win them all, but there's some quality players out there in your way. If you don't believe that you shouldn't be playing I think anyway," Wright said.
"If Michael and Gary can go up there and do things like that; I know those guys are special but I believe I am special too."
Wright's revival was sparked by his World Cup of Darts triumph for Scotland alongside Anderson in June, before he remarkably secured three titles in the space of five days.
He won the German Darts Masters for the second time in three years, before winning back-to-back Players Championship events just days later, thanks to a flurry of ton-plus averages.
Wright also impressed in the recent World Matchplay, although he succumbed 16-13 to an inspired Daryl Gurney in the quarter-finals, despite averaging 104.57.
"It's been up and down," Wright admitted. "I've won three tournaments back-to-back with really high averages, I won the World Cup with Gary, we both played fantastic in that I thought.
"I thought I played really well in the Matchplay against Daryl Gurney but he just got over the line. I felt I was really close to winning that so I was really gutted."
The world No 6 is one of the most colourful characters in the sport but is also renowned for constantly changing his darts and he concedes that his tinker-man approach can be counter-productive.
Nevertheless, he has been putting in extensive preparation ahead of the event and is determined to produce another strong showing at the Citywest.
"The bookies have got me 8/1 second favourite - that's a good price."
Wright on his Grand Prix chances...
"It doesn't help me changing darts all the time, but I'm going to be using the darts that I got to the final of the Grand Prix with last year," he revealed.
"Last year I started practising in August for the Grand Prix and it's the first time I ever got to the final, so this year I started practising in July. The bookies have got me 8/1 second favourite - that's a good price.
"[The practice] has helped me in a lot of my games anyway. I've been finishing on tops a lot, especially in the Matchplay and it really helped. I've been practising double top all the time - I'd spend just hours aiming for tops, wearing it out almost."
Earlier this week, Sky Sports expert Wayne Mardle told the Darts Show podcast it is critical for players to have a routine in order to succeed in this unique double-start event.
World Grand Prix on Sky Sports
|Sunday October 6||First Round x 8||Sky Sports Arena, 7pm|
|Monday October 7||First Round x 8||Sky Sports Action, 7pm|
|Tuesday October 8||Second Round x 4||Sky Sports Action & Main Event, 7pm|
|Wednesday October 9||Second Round x 4||Sky Sports Action & Main Event, 7pm|
|Thursday October 10||Quarter-Final x 4||Sky Sports Action, 7pm|
|Friday October 11||Semi-Final x 2||Sky Sports Action & Main Event, 7pm|
|Saturday October 12||Final||Sky Sports Action & Main Event, 8pm|
Many high-profile players have often been wracked with indecision when they are unable to pin their preferred starting double, although Wright has already established a clear plan of attack.
"I would go tops and then double 18 because it's straight over to the right-hand side. There's not much of an adjustment.
"At the moment I'm hitting plenty of nine-darters and double-start nine-darters in practice so if it comes to hitting a double 16 or any other double on the board it won't faze me."
However, before the double-start event gets underway, live on Sky Sports this Sunday, the Citywest Hotel plays host to a Pro Tour double-header on Friday and Saturday.
Van Gerwen has opted not to compete in Friday's event and a number of top players have historically missed the events to focus their efforts solely on the Grand Prix.
Nevertheless, Wright will be participating in both tournaments and believes the rigorous competition within the Pro Tour provides the perfect preparation for the week ahead.
"A lot of the big names in the past have missed out on the Pro Tour to keep themselves fresh for it," he added.
"I know it's not double-start but you're still hitting your doubles to finish, you're still scoring highly - you've got to on the floor tournaments. I think going in these tournaments actually warms you up for it to be honest."
It's not long to wait until darts is back on Sky Sports, the World Grand Prix gets under way on Sunday, October 6 at Dublin's Citywest Arena and seven days of coverage continues until the final on Saturday, October 12.