Resurgent Anderson relishing underdog tag in Blackpool

Gary Anderson (Jonas Hunold/PDC)

Gary Anderson's return to form in 2023 has made the darting world sit up and take notice, but The Flying Scotsman isn't getting too carried away with himself just yet.

Anderson plummeted to an unfamiliar position of 22nd in the world following the 2022 season, his lowest year-end ranking since 2009.

But the ever-tenacious Scot has returned with a vengeance so far in 2023, with high performance levels seeing him end his three-year wait for a ranking title in March.

Anderson continues to be one of the sport's most popular players and the two-time World Champion is determined to keep proving he still has what it takes to win TV titles.

"I want to keep playing because I enjoy winding people up!" Anderson laughed.

"If I hear somebody say 'he can't do it, that's him done', then I make a point of proving you wrong, that's what gives me the boost I need and the fire in the belly.

"The last three years have been quite quiet for me, I just didn't want to do it anymore, but after the last Worlds I started practicing with Ryan [Searle] twice a week and I've enjoyed it.

"It's shown in my performances, but they're still nowhere near what I'm throwing in practice.

"Ryan can testify how well I'm playing in practice; if that game comes out on stage then people better watch out.

"I keep telling the other boys 'imagine how good I'd be if I started practicing every night!'

"But I'm happy with how I've played this year overall, and I'm back in the Grand Slam which is a tournament I always love playing in."

Anderson's finest hour in Blackpool came in 2018 when he defeated Mensur Suljovic 21-19 in arguably the greatest ever World Matchplay final.

The 52-year-old enters this year's tournament as a non-seeded player for the first time since 2010, but Anderson insists he is happy playing the underdog.

"There's no pressure on me, I'm going there with nothing to lose, so I can just go out there and enjoy it," said Anderson, who will face Dave Chisnall in one of the pick of the first round ties.

"I could go up there and get battered 10-0 and so be it, I still managed to qualify which is an achievement in itself.

"It's going to be a hard game against Chizzy but I know from being a seed previously that the pressure is always on you to beat the non-seed in round one.

"You never know how you will play until you get up there; you can turn up and play fantastic, and then play absolutely terrible in the next game - that's darts, but I'm happy with where my game is at.

"There's always a big Scottish contingent in the crowd at Blackpool, so hopefully I can give them something to cheer about."

Listen to the full exclusive interview with Gary in the latest edition of The Darts Show Podcast - available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

2023 Betfred World Matchplay
Schedule of Play
Saturday July 15 (1900 BST)
4x First Round

Joe Cullen v Mike De Decker
Rob Cross v Daryl Gurney
Gerwyn Price v Stephen Bunting
Dave Chisnall v Gary Anderson