Humphries 'more motivated than ever' after World Championship glory

Luke Humphries (Kieran Cleeves/PDC)

Newly crowned World Darts Champion Luke Humphries insists he is ‘more motivated than ever’ to build upon his sensational Alexandra Palace success over the next 12 months.

Humphries celebrated his maiden World Darts Championship title with a thrilling 7-4 victory over teenage sensation Luke Littler on Wednesday, rallying from 4-2 down to deny the 16-year-old debutant.

The Berkshire-born superstar produced one of the performances of his career to lift the iconic Sid Waddell Trophy on a famous night in the capital, averaging 103 and crashing in an incredible 23 180s.

This capped off a truly remarkable three-month spell for Humphries, who had yet to win a Premier televised ranking title prior to October’s World Grand Prix.

However, since winning the double-start event in Leicester, Humphries has also claimed Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals titles, before going on to lift the sport’s holy grail at Alexandra Palace.

The new world number one has won his last 19 televised ranking matches since his defeat to James Wade in the European Championship, and admits he is simply riding the crest of a wave.

“Over the last three months it’s just been like a dream,” revealed Humphries, who has pocketed over £1m in ranking prize money during the last 12 months.

“From the moment I picked up my first major title, I never envisaged becoming World Champion so quickly, but it’s one of those feelings that is just indescribable.

“You always dream of how it’s going to feel and how you would react, but it never compares to how good it feels in reality. 

“You almost feel like you’re dreaming and you’re going to wake up and it’s not going to be true, but fortunately for me it is.

“I have worked incredibly hard to be in this moment and I’m going to thoroughly enjoy it.”

Humphries has overcome considerable adversity to reach the darting pinnacle, having previously opened up on his battle with anxiety which threatened to derail his promising career.

The 28-year-old was seen soaking up his World Championship heroics with his loved ones on the Alexandra Palace stage post-match, and he paid tribute to his family after realising his darting dreams.

“They have been a massive part of my journey,” continued the former World Youth Champion.

“I couldn’t have done it without my Mum or Dad. They sacrificed a lot to take me around the UK at the start of my career, when I was a youth player.

“When I first became a professional I couldn’t drive, so my Dad would take days off work to drive me to Barnsley, so he is definitely the main reason I am where I am today.

“I am very lucky to have such a great family around me. My parents, my girlfriend – their support has been incredible, and I’m very privileged to have them by my side.”

Humphries was touted as a future star after bursting on to the scene in 2018/2019, when he defeated then reigning World Champion Rob Cross to reach the quarter-finals in his second Ally Pally appearance.

Having now fulfilled that potential, the unassuming star has refuted any fears of complacency, as he bids to underline his status as the sport’s premier player.

“I always pride myself on being a tough player to beat. This is a winning run that will end one day, but I’m going to keep going as far as it will take me,” he added.

“It’s been an incredible period for me and I’ve now achieved everything I have always wanted to, but this makes me more hungry and more determined than ever to go on and win a lot more in the future.

“There is that aura where you feel invincible, you feel like you’re on top of the world, but that can all come crashing down at any moment.

“I have a target on my back now, and everybody will want to beat me, so it’s important to stay focused, because I have a duty to perform as a World Champion and world number one.”

Humphries’ victory over Littler was watched by a staggering 4.8m viewers on Sky Sports and NOW – the highest non-football audience on Sky Sports since records began.

The incredible contest was also watched by a peak audience of 3.71m; a 143% increase on the remarkable 2023 showpiece between Michael Smith and Michael van Gerwen.

“This sport has grown to incredible levels; levels I thought it would never get to,” conceded Humphries, who will headline this year’s eight-player Premier League Darts line-up.

“Darts is hot property right now. Everyone wants to be a part of it, and I really believe it’s going to get bigger and better.

“We have seen so many celebrities and sports stars watching the darts, and that is thanks to Luke Littler!

“He has built the sport to new levels, and I’m incredibly excited to be the flagbearer of the sport over the next 12 months.

“It’s going to be some year! I will be dedicated and more motivated than ever to prove that I deserve to be where I am.”