Since becoming a World Champion at the start of 2023, the rest of this year hasn’t panned out how Michael Smith planned.
With major tournaments on the horizon, starting this week at the Machineseeker European Championship, he will be looking to rediscover his past form.
Smith then faces the Player Championship Finals beginning on the 24th of November and the Paddy Power World Darts Championships beginning on December 14th.
Smith’s career has been one of mixed fortunes. Until last January, the St Helens-born star had a reputation for falling short in the biggest occasions, and it seems that image has come back to haunt Smith since the monumental victory over Michael Van Gerwen to become PDC World Champion.
The world number one’s recent results haven’t reached past heights, with one win in his previous four games.
Since the final he has struggled to perfect the finishing touch he ruthlessly showed us that night.
He most recently crashed out of the Players Championship 26, falling short by 6-3 to Vincent Van De Vort. Similar losses to John Rowby Rodriquez and Rob Cross mean recent form is not something Smith will want to dwell on.
After the infamous finish against Van Gerwen, Smith has participated in 26 tournaments, winning three, reaching five semi-finals and six quarter finals.
The 33-year-old evidently is no stranger to the big stage. Percentages show that he reaches the quarter final of a tournament 53% of the time as well as reaching the semi-final on one in three occasions.
Not the result I wanted yesterday but there’s signs it’s starting to come back slowly. Still inconsistent but in patches looks really good. Hopefully go better today. @Shot_Darts @TonyBet #andyfrieght @SkySportsDarts pic.twitter.com/hyl8QQzIn8
— Michael Smith (@Michael180Smith) September 28, 2023
Questions have been asked of Smith and his mentality, but the Bully Boy was keen to shrug that off.
He spoke to ShotDarts in August about the recent disappointment: “I lost nine majors in a row, when I won the Grand Slam, I thought that would all go away but it doesn’t,” he said.
“But I’m glad because it made me the person I am today, and it reminds me what I’ve achieved in my career.
“The past is the past and I’m working harder than ever before to try to win another one and another one.”
With his next fixture on the 26th of October in the Machineseeker European Championship in Dortmund against Raymond Van Barneveld, Smith will look to bounce back from previous setbacks in past tournaments and build some momentum as he enters the end-of-year showdowns.
As the Player Championship Finals beginning on the 24th of November and the Paddy Power World Darts Championships beginning on December 14th, Smith needs to hope his inconsistencies in latter stages turns and ends the year on a high.