Phil Taylor ‘no clown’ despite defeat at Dubai Darts Masters

Veteran darts player unhappy after losing to Peter Wright but says he will bounce back from defeat. Paul Radley reports.
Peter Wright apologised to the Dubai crowd for lack of entertainment during his win over Phil Taylor on Thursday. Sarah Dea / The National
Peter Wright apologised to the Dubai crowd for lack of entertainment during his win over Phil Taylor on Thursday. Sarah Dea / The National

DUBAI // Phil Taylor, history’s finest darts player, vowed to bounce back and prove to his rivals he is not “a clown” after reaching what he says is the lowest ebb of his career last night.

The 16-time world champion cut a frustrated figure after crashing out of the Dubai Masters at the first hurdle for the second year in succession.

He fell in a 10-5 loss to the flamboyant newcomer Peter Wright, who himself apologised to spectators for the poor standard of play and the lack of entertainment in their quarter-final.

“This is my lowest, this is the lowest I have been in my career,” said Taylor, who is currently the world No 2.

“People are calling me a clown. The other players are calling me a clown, I know they are. There is only one person who can put this right, and that is me.”

Despite having already achieved all there is to in the sport, Taylor, 53, said he has been inspired to return to the practice board and reach new levels of performance, by his conqueror here.

To say Wright is a larger-than-life performer is a broad understatement. The leprechauns and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the raucous crowd at the Dubai Tennis Stadium had nothing on him.

From the psychedelic shirts – he has packed three for the trip to the UAE, confident that he will make tonight’s final – to his haircut, Wright makes John Daly and Dennis Rodman seem sartorially muted.

On the left side of a luminous mohican, Wright had a cobra motif shaved into his hair, not to mention tattoos on display in other areas. He had the game to go with the look, though, as he produced a second win in his past three meetings with Taylor.

The other was a draw – during which time he was experimenting with new flights on his darts, he says. “Now I don’t look at it as though I am playing Phil Taylor, as I used to,” Wright said.

“I used to be frightened of the best player in the world. Now I don’t fear anybody – they have to fear me.

“I am not playing very well at the moment. When I do, they have definitely got to fear me.”

Wright, who was tearful after the match as he reflected on a rise from No 23 in the world – he watched this competition on TV last year – said Taylor will definitely bounce back.

He faces a semi final this evening against Dave Chisnall, who beat Simon Whitlock in a match of such high standard it made a joke of the claims of adverse, blustery weather conditions. “If there is a breeze out there, someone is lying,” Chisnall said.

pradley@thenational.ae

Follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE

Published: May 30, 2014 04:00 AM

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