World Darts Championship: James Wade hails Phil Taylor and reveals retirement plans

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James Wade plans to retire before 57

The Power is retiring after this William Hill PDC championship, where he is through to the second round next Saturday after beating Chris Dobey 3-1 in his opening match.

Wade, 34, a three-times world semi-finalist who faces Keegan Brown this evening and is a mechanic by trade, said: “If I am playing at 57, then I have done something seriously wrong.

“At 57, I will be in a garage somewhere and with little kids running around. Not for me, not travelling around the world with kids, I couldn’t sacrifice that.

“That is why Phil Taylor is the greatest player ever because he sacrificed important things to be the best at something.

“Everyone loves money but it doesn’t drive me. We all like nice things. I was born with nothing and if I have less money in life, that is the way it is.

“I have done good for a 34 year old lad from Aldershot. I don’t think I have reached my peak. I need to get my mindset and that drive. The drive is coming back. The mindset is nearly there. They will click it into place when I least except it.”

Wade has won eight majors in his career and since 2008, he has only failed to reach the world quarter-finals on two occasions, last being a semi-finallist in 2013.

Gary Anderson, the two-times winner, opened his William Hill World Darts Championship campaign with a convincing 3-0 victory over Canadian Jeff Smith on a frenetic Saturday at Alexandra Palace.

With a host of speedy players in action the darting drama came thick and fast in the first double session of this year’s event, but there was no real scare for Scottish star Anderson.

Canadian Smith had opened the evening session with a 170 checkout as he defeated youngster Luke Humphries in straight sets in the preliminary round, but was unable to upset the odds against the No 3 seed.

“If I am playing at 57, then I have done something seriously wrong”

James Wade

Double champion Anderson produced some of his best scoring in his first round run-out, with seven 180s deflecting the attention from 18 missed doubles as he averaged almost 101.

In the second set, Anderson was even more sensational as he averaged just under 132 courtesy of four 180s and the first 10-dart leg of this year’s tournament in a run of 10, 11 and 12 darters.

Former Lakeside Championship finalist Smith had missed just one double against Humphries, but hardly got a sniff early on as he was bullied out of the contest.

“The 180s were flying in but I was making a mess of some counting but I’ve done it before and we’ll get over it,” said Anderson, who is desperate to get his hands back on the Sid Waddell Trophy.

“Michael [van Gerwen] took it off me last year and I’d love to do the same to him this year.”

Anderson’s own pace was made to look distinctly pedestrian by Jermaine Wattimena and Joe Cullen in their epic five-set showdown earlier in the evening.

Blink and you might have missed Wattimena beating Cullen 3-2 in a frantic contest that saw the first two sets played in under seven minutes – Cullen’s second set whitewash coming in a breathtaking two minutes and 45 seconds.

A ding-dong battle swung both ways but Cullen was left cursing four missed darts for the match as Wattimena forced a tie-break and took full advantage to reach the second round for the first time.

“He played well,” said Wattimena. “He won the second set quicker than mine! He hit two bull finishes and we both played very well and finished very well.”

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