The Big Interview with JAMES WADE
Unicorn Darts prize winners:
James MacDonald, 'Tinkerbell' and 'The Leicestershire Menace'
All win their choice of Unicorn Darts.
1. From Miles 'Bim' Liddell, Quebec, Canada : As a Unicorn Contender, what will it take for Unicorn to change that status to a Unicorn Maestro. Your ranking or your popularity?
WADE : I believe my status will change with success on the dartboard, popularity is okay but what matters in my eyes is success.
2. From Paul Teasdale : As a Unicorn Contender, what kind of pressure do you feel from sponsors to compete well in competition, as apposed to before you got top level sponsorship?
WADE : I have been sponsored since 2002, and to be honest at first I did feel pressure due to not wanting to let anyone down, however since my move to the PDC in 2004, I do not feel any pressure regardless of sponsorship as I believe in my ability now and I find it another challenge to repay the faith my sponsors put in me.
3. From Darren Oakley: What was your biggest achievement during your years playing youth darts ?
WADE : Playing for England Youth in Gibraltar.
4. From the Leicestershire Menace - How does it feel to literally rise from an Ordinary Pub Player to being in the worlds top 20 in just 7 years? And what was like when you had the chance to Join Team Unicorn?
WADE : I was fortunate to be selected for my county team at 16 years Old, so I never really experienced 'just pub darts', I was thrown into the deep end almost straight away. But yes, I feel very good about how fortunate I have been with my career to date, and believe I can go even further. When I was offered the chance to become a member of Team Unicorn I was very excited as they are without doubt a very professional and decent company, and have over the years been associated with the best dart players in the world.
5. From phil 180 : do you miss playing county darts?
WADE : Being honest I do not miss county darts, although I had 3 successful and enjoyable seasons, I personally believe that the ultimate test for a players ability is to compete on the PDC circuit. This may be construed as me being arrogant, but it is my own opinion, and every player has his own targets and ambitions. I believe that the county system is a good stepping stone for an eventual move to the Professional circuit.
6. From James MacDonald : In your opinion, Do you think that a player can only get so good and that's it or is that a mental barrier that players need to deal with especially at the level you play at ? Do you have any advice on how a person can get over the mental humps in the game--especially when you are aware of who you are playing ?
WADE : Like any sport you need to have a certain amount of natural ability, and the difference between good players and professional players is finding the extra ability to cope with the stress and pressure of big games. This is what makes Phil Taylor the player he has been and still is, he is able to block out all fear, in any standard of game.
7. From Tinkerbell : I first watched you throw in the Budweiser North East Final in Newcastle in January 2005 and was amazed by your throwing action. Being a Tom Cruise fan, the twisting of your dart and locking in before releasing reminded me of a missile locking into its target as shown on the dashboard of the planes in Top Gun. Bizarre I know but there you go. Over the past 12 months I have watched with interest your rise up the ranking from then on. Maybe you should change your nickname to Top Gun. My question to you would be: Have you ever tried to throw whilst wearing contact lenses and if so how did you fair? And had you every thought of changing your nickname to TOP GUN?
WADE : I have never worn contact lenses for darts and have no intention to do so, I am happy with my glasses, maybe an option at a later date will be Laser surgery, but not sure when. To be honest I do not wish to have any nickname, plain old James Wade is good for me.
8. From Sean Melody : Have you ever been involved in some 'gamesmanship' during a match? When a player does something to try and put you off. If so, how did you cope and carry on playing your game? Do you approve of the tricks Manley played against Adrian Lewis at the World Championships? By the way, keep up the great darts!
WADE : I have never knowingly used gamesmanship nor do I wish to as I firmly believe it is very unprofessional & disrespectful. Unfortunately I did not see the Manley v Lewis game, but I heard it was a great game :)
9. From hurricane : I notice that you are left handed. What do you think your chances are of becoming the first PDC left handed world champion?
WADE : have never viewed being left handed as being different, and do know some other left handed players who are very good. I have faith in my ability as a dart player and see know reason why I cannot progress in the game.
Supplementary Questions from Superstars of Darts editor Andy Fairclough following James' achievements at the World Matchplay :
10. The dust has now settled a little since your stunning performances at the World Matchplay. What will stay with you as your greatest memory from the tournament?
WADE : I have many good memories of Blackpool, but I would say the best of all is finally after 5 TV appearances, showing the darting world that I can compete with the best and that I can actually play the game :)
11. Now that you are a full time professional player, what does this mean to you and what are your immediate ambitions?
WADE : Being a fulltime pro will hopefully allow me to practice harder, earn a decent salary and develop my career. My immediate ambitions are to continue to fair well in all PDC events and to be in the Top 10 of the Order of Merit when published in January 2007.
12. Most aspiring top quality players have to make a 'political' decision as to where to play their darts. How difficult was it for you to make the switch to the PDC, particularly having achieved some success in BDO tournaments and having appeared in the World Championships at Lakeside?
WADE : The decision to 'switch' was quite hard at the time as I was ranked in the Top 16 of the BDO rankings and had already prequalified for the 2004 WDT & 2005 Lakeside events, however my sponsor advised that the time to move was imminent as I had moved into the Top 60 of the PDC rankings and timing was of the essence in order to develop my career. To be honest the decision was hard and I was concerned with moving from a recognised player in the BDO to a lowly ranked player in the PDC. The thought was very daunting, however I felt that the rewards on offer from the PDC to the rewards from the BDO were far superior both in financial and professionalism if I could make the grade. I realise now that the timing was perfect and that if I had waited until after the 2005 Lakeside I would know be facing a much harder task as the standard of the PDC players continues to improve at each event.
13. It is definitely a battle for any player once making the switch to reach the all important top 24 of the PDC which ensures invitations to most of the big TV tournaments. Has it been hard working your way through the rankings to establish yourself within the top group of players within the PDC?
WADE : The last 2 years have been hard, but the rewards on offer from the PDC make the challenge worthwhile, my next target is to establish myself in the Top 10 of the Order of merit and to perform well in the World Grand Prix & World Pro events, my target for 2007 is to reach Top 5 of rankings and to play in the Premier league