Two-time world champion Gary Anderson has revealed that he is undergoing weekly treatment on his persistent back injury, in a bid to return to full fitness ahead of the new darting season.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ suffered the injury during his Grand Slam semi-final defeat to his fellow countryman Peter Wright back in November. Anderson led the contest 14-8, but ‘Snakebite’ won eight of the remaining nine legs to prevail in a dramatic last-leg decider.
Anderson was also plagued with the injury during his shock first-round defeat at the Players Championship Finals against Mickey Mansell, and the problem resurfaced at the recent PDC World Championship at the Alexandra Palace.
The Scot struggled to victory against Steve West in round-three and there were real fears that he would be forced to pull out of his quarter-final clash against Phil Taylor. Anderson battled through the pain barrier, but he was unable to produce his typically prolific scoring and ‘The Power’ therefore ran out a 5-3 winner.
However, speaking exclusively to Unicorn’s Matt Rankin ahead of this weekend’s Unibet Masters, Anderson revealed: “I’ve been going for the last four weeks now every Tuesday for about an hour, getting put back into place. He reckons still about another couple of months before I’m 100%, but it’s getting there, it’s a lot better.”
“Now and again it’s still sharp pain. Every Tuesday I’m in getting butchered as they say because it does hurt, but it’s good. You feel the benefit the next game-day so hopefully we get it sorted before, a bit sooner than the two months.”
By his exceptionally high standards, Anderson had a mixed year in 2017. He won two World Series events and also triumphed in three Players Championship tournaments, but for the first time in three years he failed to win a televised major- finishing as runner-up in the Masters, the Champions League and the World Series of Darts Finals.
Reflecting on the previous season, Anderson claimed: “It was up and down. I played well in Dubai, the World Series and Australia, four tournaments; lost a few finals but I’ve had a lot going on. Put my personal life in and trying to play darts at the same time; it’s been quite hard this year.
“This year everything is cleared now, the baby’s a lot better and we can get back on it now. The Premier League for a start, we’re just getting ready to start it next week and that’s a long old haul. So it’s just get past the first qualifying and then head up to try and get in that top four, so that’s where the main concern is going to be.”
The two-time world champion kicks off his season by taking on Benito van de Pas in the first-round of the Masters on Saturday evening, but he has already pinpointed the Grand Slam and World Championship as his tournaments to target in 2018.
‘The Flying Scotsman said: “We’ve got Milton Keynes this week so hopefully that will be a tester to see how things are going, and then back to the Grand Slam, that’s my favourite tournament. I made a right mess of it this year, but that’s when I started getting the bad back.
“I had my chances and I was trying to pull down for the 19s to save me but it never quite worked. I’m just looking forward and obviously there’s the worlds. I lost to Phil this year, bit gutted about that but this is a new year now.”
Anderson also begins his Premier League campaign in Dublin next Thursday, where he will take on his protégé Michael Smith. ‘Bully-Boy’ was relegated on Judgement Night in his Premier League debut back in 2016, but Ando is relishing Smith’s return.
He quipped: “Notice the grey hair, I’ll have a bit more I think after. It’s good to have somebody, your stablemate; it kind of helps pass the time because it can be a lonely game. I don’t take Rachel about with me a lot so I spend most of my time on my own; it does get to you a bit, so to have him to pick on for the next three months will be great!”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC