Grand Slam of Darts champion Luke Humphries is the best player on the planet, says Wayne Mardle; we’re back for the World Darts Championship from December 15, 2023 to January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 20/11/23 7:47am
Newly-crowned Grand Slam of Darts champion Luke Humphries is the best player on the planet, according to Sky Sports pundit Wayne Mardle.
Humphries continued his rise to the top of the darting scene by winning the title in Wolverhampton and proving himself the most in-form player in the world.
Just 43 days after winning a maiden major title at the World Grand Prix, the 28-year-old followed it up with a second after he steamrollered Rob Cross in Wolverhampton, cruising to a 16-8 victory on Sunday night.
‘Cool Hand’ made waves on the European Tour last season but has transitioned that form to the PDC Tour this year and is now a real contender for World Championship glory at the end-of-year pinnacle, which begins next month.
He averaged 104.69, threw eight 180s and operated with a 59 per cent success rate on doubles as he lifted the Eric Bristow Trophy.
Mardle believes his latest victory could be the start of something dominant after becoming only the third player in history to win the Grand Prix and Grand Slam of Darts back to back along with Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen.
“Is he going to go on and win the Worlds? Is he then going to be a multiple champion? I think so,” ‘Hawaii 501’ told Sky Sports.
“The way he was holding throw and breaking throw with ease was not because Rob was poor. Listen, he’s playing the darts of his life right now and no one knows if this is going to be it for Humphries. Life’s got a funny way of throwing curveballs.
“I believe he’s the best player on the planet but there are many that are going to say that it’s Gerwyn Price or it’s Gary Anderson. Everyone can have an opinion, but right now he’s the one winning the trophies. That’s all that matters.
“The world of darts needs people like Luke Humphries. He looks great, he plays with an ease, he talks well. This is the now and future of darts.
“He is someone who goes about his business in the right way.”
Humphries was happy to prove a few people wrong and says he can get even better.
“It feels just as good, obviously the first one, nothing can ever beat that, the second one does feel good, especially with the way I was playing there,” he said.
“It was a really tough, tough game, it is a long gruelling slog [on Sunday]. We both played really well, it was a contrast from the semi-final to the final, I played much, much, better.
“I was just happy to make a second final, so to pick up a second is fantastic. The European Tour is where I get all of my success, apparently I can’t do it on the big stage, but I can I promise.
“I feel like a new player, people have been telling me I have got no personality apparently but I don’t care, as long as I keep picking up trophies.
“I am a lucky boy, I have always dreamed of being up on this stage and winning. I am very blessed and lucky to be a two-time major champion, I just can’t believe it.
“I have been on a journey, it has not been easy. I have lost a lot of weight, battled a lot of things in my head to get these moments, these are the things that make me believe. I think I can get a lot, lot better.”
Cross added: “The best man won on the night, he was quality. The best man won, no doubt about that. I’ve had a good week, I enjoyed it and we go again.
“To lose is a little bit hurtful but he was excellent, the best man won and that is all I can say about it.”
When is the World Darts Championship?
The sport’s biggest event will be held from December 15, 2023 to January 3, 2024 as 96 players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace.
You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.