Justin Pipe has admitted that he believes he should have been selected to compete in the Premier League earlier in his career. The three-time major semi-finalist broke into the top ten of the PDC Order of Merit a few years ago, but claims that his Premier League exclusion was a bitter pill to swallow.
Pipe enjoyed the best spell of his career between 2011-2013; winning three Players Championship titles, the 2012 Austrian Darts Open, and reaching three major televised semi-finals, at the World Grand Prix and the Players Championship Finals respectively.
This catapulted Pipe into the world’s top ten, but the Taunton ace was never awarded a Premier League wildcard, with many highlighting his methodical style as the potential catalyst behind his exclusion.
Nevertheless, since 2013, Pipe’s form has gradually declined. His last PDC ranking title came at a Players Championship event in Ireland back in 2014, and he’s slipped to 28th on the PDC Order of Merit, which leaves him scrapping to retain his top 32 status.
In an interview with PDC commentator Dan Dawson in November last year, ‘The Force’ candidly revealed that a battle with anxiety did have a significant impact on his slump in form. However, he also insists that his progress was hampered by his multiple Premier League rejections, which he believes were unjustified.
Speaking to Elmar Paulke after his impressive first-round victory over Krzysztof Ratajski at the European Darts Matchplay earlier this weekend, Pipe admitted: “You can only take so many kicks in the family jewels and you lose heart, and I always think if you reward success with the rewards that this game can give you, you’ll work hard.
I really do think I should have been in the Premier League in 2012, 2013- maybe 2011. I’m not getting the calls. I’m not getting into the world tours. It’s like when someone keeps stepping on your head when you’re under water; it’s not nice. For me that was very hard to take, because you reward success with rewards. It’s as simple as that.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC