Two-time world champion Adrian Lewis will miss out on his first televised tournament on Sky Sports since December 2010, after failing to qualify for this weekend’s Grand Slam of Darts at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall.
Lewis was forced to enter Monday’s Grand Slam qualifier at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan, having failed to reach any major finals over the past 12 months, which is now the criteria for automatic qualification.
Nevertheless, the world number five was unable to seal his place in the unique cross-code event, which sees eight BDO representatives pit their wits against 24 players from the PDC, after losing 5-3 in his first qualification tie against Simon Stevenson.
As a result, ‘Jackpot’ will miss out on the Grand Slam for the first time since the tournament’s inception in 2007, which also means he will be absent from a Sky Sports televised tournament for the first time since the World Cup of Darts in December 2010.
It’s been a difficult year for the Stoke-on-Trent ace, who underwent back surgery during the summer, which saw him miss large chunks of the Pro Tour season. He won a Pro Tour title in April, but his best showing in a TV major came at July’s World Matchplay, where he lost out to eventual winner Phil Taylor in the semi-finals.
However, since then, Lewis was knocked out of the Champions League of Darts in the group phase, losing all three of his matches against Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld, before suffering successive first-round exits at the World Grand Prix and last weekend’s World Series of Darts Finals.
The 32-year-old now faces a defining few months in his career, as he faces the prospect of falling out of the world’s top 16 after this year’s World Championship. Lewis and Phil Taylor are the only men to have never been outside the world’s top ten since the current Order of Merit system was adopted in 2007, yet that statistic is now under serious threat.
Lewis is defending £200,000 in prize money during the next few months on the two-year rolling Order of Merit, having reached the Grand Slam quarter-finals in 2015, whilst finishing as runner-up in both the Players Championship Finals and the World Championship two years ago.
Expert darts statistician Burton DeWitt has published the projected PDC Order of Merit following the 2018 World Championship, which can be viewed below.
It could see Lewis fall to as low as 19th in the world, which would see him miss out on January’s Unibet Masters. However, the Stoke star is without doubt one of the most naturally gifted players to have ever picked up a dart, and fans will be desperate to see him return to his brilliant best very soon.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC