Wade desperate to double Betfred World Matchplay tally

James Wade celebrates at the Betfred World Matchplay

James Wade admits the Betfred World Matchplay means more to him than any other tournament, as he bids to lift the coveted Phil Taylor Trophy for a second time at the Winter Gardens next weekend.

Wade has been an ever-present at the Empress Ballroom since his debut in 2006, where he enjoyed a fairy-tale run to the final before losing out to an imperious Taylor.

The left-hander scooped the title 12 months later, defeating Terry Jenkins 18-7 to clinch his maiden PDC televised crown.

Wade has since moved into double digits in terms of televised titles, although he has been unable to add to his World Matchplay tally, despite featuring in a further four Blackpool finals.

“I can't believe it's 15 years since I won in Blackpool. It's a long time but it doesn't feel like it,” quipped Wade, seeded fifth this year.

“I want to win every tournament I play in, but this one means a little bit more to me. It has always meant more to me.

“It is definitely my favourite venue. The first time I played there in 2006 was amazing and it was my first big stage final. It’s a special place for me.

“That's why it hurts even more when I don't perform well there, but it's also a joy when I do play well.”

No player in this year’s 32-player field has appeared in more World Matchplay finals than Wade, but the six-time finalist has not progressed beyond the quarter-finals since finishing runner-up in 2015.

Wade takes on debutant Martin Lukeman in his opening round tie on Sunday night, and the 2007 winner admits his opponent is somewhat of an unknown quantity to him.

“I don't know much about Martin. I'm not like some players, I don't really keep track of what other players are doing because you can plant seeds in your head,” said the 39-year-old.

“I try and avoid knowing who I'm playing until I get to a venue; I've got no interest in the draw. 

“It doesn't matter anyway, because if I play my darts, I know I win. 

“If I don't play my darts, I can still grind out a win, but it becomes more stressful and hard work.”

Wade enjoyed a bright start to 2022, finishing third in the revamped Cazoo Premier League courtesy of night wins in Manchester and Dublin, while posting a personal best average of 114.73 on the Emerald Isle.

However, the ten-time TV title winner was sidelined briefly after suffering a health scare during May’s Interwetten European Darts Open, which saw him spend three nights in a German hospital.

“I was playing really well but then dipped off a bit, but I'm starting to feel a bit better about myself,” Wade revealed.

“To win it any year would be special, but it annoys me that I've not won this for a while. I really want to win another World Matchplay.”

The tournament is being broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV (excluding UK, Germany, Austria & Switzerland based subscribers).

2022 Betfred World Matchplay
Schedule of Play
Sunday July 17
Afternoon Session (1300 BST)
4x First Round

Dirk van Duijvenbode v Ryan Searle
Danny Noppert v Brendan Dolan
Gary Anderson v Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith v Andrew Gilding

Evening Session (1930 BST)
4x First Round

Joe Cullen v Damon Heta
James Wade v Martin Lukeman
Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis
Luke Humphries v Nathan Aspinall