Nathan Aspinall wants Premier League return after World Grand Prix resurgence
Nathan Aspinall is aiming to win one of the remaining televised tournaments this year as he targets a return to the Premier League in 2023; listen to the full interview on the Love The Darts podcast
Last Updated: 13/10/22 11:36am
It has been a testing period in Nathan Aspinall's career of late, as he battled a wrist injury.
After his stunning rise which saw him reach back-to-back World Championship semi-finals and claim a UK Open title, 'The Asp' has struggled for form and fitness, and he slipped down the rankings in 2021 and 2022.
However, Aspinall enjoyed a resurgence at last week's World Grand Prix, reaching just his third PDC major final.
Claiming the scalps of world No 4 Michael Smith, UK Open champion Danny Noppert and top-seed Gerwyn Price en route to the decider, he eventually fell to Michael van Gerwen, despite a brave comeback attempt after going 4-0 down in a race to five sets.
"When it was at its worst, I literally couldn't practise," he said of the injury, speaking to the Love The Darts podcast.
"I'd do 15 minutes, sit down for an hour, 15 minutes, an hour. It was five hours, just to get an hour's practise. That was probably from January building up to the Masters, it was unbearable, and that's why I pulled out of the Masters.
"Then I got a bit of advice, 'you should take time off', that's why I pulled out of Pro Tours. And then, when I had the treatment done, it was a slow [process]; half an hour a day, 40 minutes a day, and now I'm back to doing two or three hours a day without any pain.
"I still need to do more to get back to the top. I need to be doing four or five hours a day. I can't quite push it there yet.
"Another four weeks, five weeks, I reckon I'll be back to 100 per cent. I'm about 95 per cent now."
If Aspinall can find that final few percentage points, he will be hitting serious form at the business end of the season.
"I know there's a lot more in the tank, because I'm doing it on the practice board," he continued.
"But, obviously, I've got to try and do it every single day. But I'm not far from being back to where I was three years ago. I've put a lot of work to get where I am now. I can't rest on my laurels. I've got to keep pushing, keep fighting and put the practice in, and fingers crossed I'll be back up to five, six, four in the world."
Tasting a return to the big-time, his appetite is not sated, but rather whetted.
"I want to win a tournament. I want to win a TV event. I want to get back in the top eight by the end of the season, which I pretty much am on track to do," he said.
"The ultimate aim, I want to be back in that Premier League next year. I've been in it twice, unfortunately Covid happened, I didn't get to experience a full season. But that is ultimately my target. I know people don't like talking about it so early. But I'll be the one to talk about it. I want to be in it. And, rest assured, I'll do everything I can to be in it next year.
"They like a bit of fight and character on that stage, and I think that's me down to a tee. But you don't get put in it for no reason. I've got to earn a spot."
The Asp's battles with injury have made him more aware of the opportunities at hand.
"It's an amazing job. When it's that close to be taken away, you realise what you have," the Stockport native said.
"I was an accountant before. I don't want to go back to doing spreadsheets!
"Every moment you walk on that stage, you are thankful, because it was so close to being the end. That's why there's a smile on my face. In the final, I was getting battered, and I was still smiling and laughing. That's the attitude I'm trying to keep now for the foreseeable future."