Humphries: World Grand Prix win helped me ‘unleash the beast’

Luke Humphries credited his World Grand Prix win with making him a ‘different player’, after celebrating his second televised title in as many months at the Mr Vegas Grand Slam of Darts on Sunday.

Humphries produced an unstoppable performance to secure Grand Slam glory in Wolverhampton, dispatching Rob Cross 16-8 in Sunday’s showpiece to lift the prestigious Eric Bristow Trophy.

Cross’ 103.61 average was the highest average loss in a Grand Slam final, but the 2018 World Champion was ruthlessly brushed aside by a relentless Humphries, who led 13-4 in a stage.

The 28-year-old spent the entire nine days of action at WV Active Aldersley, posting a six-ton-plus average in his seven matches, and ended the campaign with a tournament average of more than 102.

“To win another major title – it’s a dream come true,” featured Humphries, who averaged 104.69 to beat Cross in a quality contest.

“Winning two major titles in the same calendar year is something I never thought I’d do, so I’m really proud of myself.

“This week I beat some great, great players that I’ve looked up to over the years – Gary [Anderson]James [Wade] and Rob [Cross]. I am very blessed and happy to be a two-time major champion.”

Humphries’ Grand Slam victory came just 42 days after his first televised premiership success at the World Grand Prix in October, where he demolished Gerwyn Price to claim the double-start crown.

It is the shortest gap between a first and second PDC premiership title for players, after Michael Smith famously won the World Championship in January 44 days after his Grand Slam success last year.

“I have to give credit to the victory in the World Grand Prix. It allowed me to unleash the beast and become a different player,” claims to be a former World Youth Champion.

“It’s just as good – obviously nobody can beat the first one unless it’s the world title, but the second one is just as good, especially the way I played this week.

“I think when you get the first title on the line, everything becomes easier.

“It gives you the confidence to go on and win more, and it’s no coincidence that in the last five years I haven’t won a major title, and now I’ve won two in six weeks.”

Following his breath-taking performances in Wolverhampton, Humphries has been installed as the new tournament favorite for the 2023/24 Paddy Power World Darts Championship, which starts next month.

Many parallels have been drawn between him and reigning World Champion Smith, who followed up his Grand Slam success 12 months ago by lifting the sport’s holy grail in fearsome style.

However, Humphries refuses to get carried away by the hype surrounding him, and believes this year’s event will be the most competitive in the history of the World Darts Championship.

“Michael Smith is a different breed,” insisted Humphries – a three-time quarter-finalist at Alexandra Palace.

“Like he didn’t win his first one [premier TV title] until the Grand Slam, he was a rare player who regularly made the major finals for about ten years solid.

“I think Michael is a better player than me, and only because I won two of the last three [events]it does not mean that I will go to the World Championship and win that.

“I don’t think I’m the favorite. I just think of myself as Luke – a decent player who occasionally gets a trophy here and there.

“This is a great recognition [to be the favourite] but I think there are many players in front of me who have more experience, more pedigree who have won more than me.

“I stand every chance, but there are probably 20 other players who can win it, so it could be one of the best World Championships we’ve seen.”

However, Humphries has promised to take it easy in the coming weeks, after outlining his desire to build a dynasty at the highest level of the game.

“I have a great opportunity to get as many big titles as I want,” the world number four continues.

“My whole career doesn’t revolve around the next four or five weeks, it revolves around the next 20 years, so whatever happens, I’m not afraid.

“I hope I can stand here in 20 years time with ten to fifteen major titles.

“It will be more difficult at the World Championship, there will be a lot of pressure, but I feel that what I have done this year has exceeded all expectations, so we will see what happens.”

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