Grand Slam champion Smith insists "It's my time now!"
Michael Smith believes his Cazoo Grand Slam of Darts victory will provide the springboard for further success, after celebrating his maiden TV ranking title win in Wolverhampton on Sunday.
Smith dispatched Nathan Aspinall 16-5 on an emotional night at the Aldersley Leisure Village to claim the coveted Eric Bristow Trophy and his elusive first televised ranking title.
The 32-year-old had lost his previous eight big-stage finals – including three in 2022 – but he produced a dominant display in Sunday’s showpiece to fulfil his darting destiny.
“I don't even know how to celebrate,” admitted Smith, who edged out Joe Cullen in a quarter-final classic before overcoming a resurgent Raymond van Barneveld in the semi-finals.
“I'm used to giving the runner-up speech, but now I'm the cat who's on my ninth life and finally I've got it with this one!”
“Nathan's a quality player and hopefully I've got 16 weeks with him now next year in the Premier League and we have fun.”
Smith has enjoyed a superb 2022 campaign, scooping three Pro Tour titles, a fifth European Tour crown at the Dutch Darts Championship, while he also celebrated US Darts Masters glory in June.
The St Helens star also featured in World Championship, UK Open and European Championship deciders earlier this year, before becoming the seventh different winner of the Grand Slam of Darts.
“I feel like I’ve arrived now that I’ve got the first title under my belt,” admitted Smith, who averaged 96, landed nine 180s and converted 50% of his attempts at double in his emphatic win over Aspinall.
“I’ve won every different type of title the PDC have got to offer – Pro Tours, European Tours, World Series and now a TV title.
“It’s a big weight off my shoulders, and it’s time to step up again. I want to be greedy.”
Smith will have the opportunity to double his TV title tally at the Cazoo Players Championship Finals in Minehead from November 25-27, before all roads lead to Alexandra Palace for the Cazoo World Darts Championship.
The world number four has already appeared in two World Championship finals, succumbing to Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright in 2019 and 2022 respectively.
However, Smith is now bidding to replicate the success enjoyed by world number one and 2021 World Champion Gerwyn Price, who also secured his first TV title at the Grand Slam back in 2018.
“The hard work starts again now,” added Smith, who pocketed the £150,000 top prize following his exploits in Wolverhampton.
“I'm going to enjoy this until Thursday and then Friday is a different event, back on the grind. Now I've got this one, who knows?
“Look what this tournament did for Gerwyn Price when he won it – he’s a World Champion now, look at [Michael] van Gerwen when he won the World Grand Prix. It’s my time now.”