Michael Smith insists he has not been disrespectful towards Glen Durrant following comments he made regarding Durrant’s involvement in the Grand Slam of Darts as a BDO representative.
‘Duzza’ made the switch to the PDC in January after lifting a third successive Lakeside title, securing his PDC Tour Card on the final day of Qualifying School. Nevertheless, the Teessider is representing the BDO as their world champion in this year’s event.
Durrant came close to securing automatic qualification as a PDC player following semi-final appearances at the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix, although he was included as one of eight BDO representatives in this year’s field, which means any prize money he attains will not count towards his PDC ranking.
World number three Smith, who defeated Durrant 5-3 in his opening Group H tie on Saturday afternoon, suggested in an interview with LiveDarts that the three-time world champion was fortunate to have been granted a spot in this year’s cross-code tournament.
The pair also met in the semi-finals of this year’s World Matchplay with ‘Bully Boy’ running out a 17-10 winner, although Durrant kept his Grand Slam hopes alive with victory over Martin Schindler on Sunday, recovering from 4-2 down and surviving match darts to prevail in a last-leg decider.
The 48-year-old will now face a straight shootout with UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall for a place in the knockout phases, after Smith posted the third highest average in Grand Slam history to defeat ‘The Asp’ 5-1; averaging 113.62 and firing in four maximums to seal his last 16 berth.
Nevertheless, speaking to LiveDarts after his win over Schindler, the Middlesbrough man admitted he was unhappy with Smith’s comments and claimed he feels he deserves more respect.
“I’m not happy with the way he spoke after the Matchplay and I certainly wasn’t happy with the way he spoke yesterday. I think I just deserve a bit of respect and I just don’t like his interviews,” Durrant said.
“I’ve not spoken to him today [Sunday] because I don’t want to. Michael Smith is an unbelievable player, a great lad – I like him a lot. I just think I deserve a little bit more respect and I just didn’t like the words he said.”
However, Smith – who is still searching for his elusive first major title, defended his comments before adding that he wasn’t here to ‘make friends’. “I’m not being disrespectful, I think it’s just one of those things,” he told Live Darts.
“For me, the Grand Slam is 32 players, if you get to a final or are a runner-up – you’re in. You can’t leave one organisation and come to another and expect to get in for the one you’ve just left, but that’s my opinion and it’s not only mine.
“There’s a lot of people who think the same and if he thinks it’s disrespectful, good luck to him. I’m not here to make friends. I like Glen, I really do, but I’m here to put food on the table for my kids, I’m here to win matches and to win titles.”
Smith is one of four players already assured of their place in the last 16, alongside top seed Michael van Gerwen, 2014 finalist Dave Chisnall and debutant Gabriel Clemens, but he’s determined to make it three from three when he faces World Youth finalist Schindler on Monday evening.
Durrant, who has qualified from the group phase in two of his previous three appearances, knows that victory over Aspinall will be sufficient to progress, and he could potentially renew his rivalry with ‘Bully Boy’ in the quarter-finals in Wolverhampton.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC