Leeds fan Humphries holding off Elland Road lap of honour until he wins worlds

He isn't covered in tattoos like a naff Sistine Chapel, he isn't dripping in gold bling or expensive watches and he doesn't give it big ones on stage.

Luke Humphries may not be a showman, but he's ready for the big show – and he's the bookies' favourite at Alexandra Palace.As 'Cool Hand Luke' assessed his chances at the Paddy Power PDC World Championship, where the curtain on another fancy dress pageant goes up on Friday night, he warned: “I'm not here to put on an act – I'm here to win.”

‌Until October, Humphries was one of the nearly men of darts. But after winning three TV majors in a row – the World Grand Prix, Grand Slam and Players' Championship finals – the No.3 seed is not dull any more. He could turn Ally Pally into his own bland of hope and glory.

READ MORE: ‌'I'm a PDC darts champ who went from depressive recluse to church-singing guitar nut'

READ MORE: Gerwyn Price opening fish n chip shop – 12 months after fans 'battered' him at Ally Pally

Humphries, 28, is also one of the nice guys of the oche, and he said: “You've seen it for yourself at the Grand Prix and Grand Slam – nice guys do win. “Of course I've got that nasty streak inside me that makes we want to win, but not in an arrogant way.

‌“When up I'm up there, I want to beat my opponent convincingly. I don't want to show them any remorse or sorrow. But I don't have a vicious side and I wouldn't change my personality just to suit other people.

Who do you think will win the PDC World Darts Championship? Let us know in the comments section below

“I'm not an eccentric, and my personality on the dartboard doesn't really shine through because I like to focus, I like to win. If I had this happy-go-lucky act on stage, I don't think I would be able to focus properly. Some people think I'm miserable, but that's not the way I am in person.

“Off the oche, I'm one of the jokiest, happiest people around – but when I'm on that stage it's serious business. I've worked really hard to get this far, and sometimes that's what separates you from other players, that 'serious' head.

“Now I have won that first ranking major, my brain is telling me I am part of the elite – but it doesn't go to my head. I am still the same person, I will always be down to earth.

See all the biggest names in tennis from Djokovic to Alcaraz from Swiatek to Sabalenka as they battle it out for the prestigious major at Flushing Meadows. The US Open is live and exclusive on Sky Sports and you can follow all the action.

£15 a month

“Sure, it's nice to read that I'm one of the favourites at Ally Pally, but it's been a year when the major prizes have not been dominated by one person and there are probably 10 or 12 people who could win this World Championship.

“If I'm favourite with the bookies, that's probably because they know I'm a heavy scorer – and in recent tournaments, my finishing has been good. Put those two together and I'm lethal, but it doesn't make me unbeatable.”

‌Leeds United fan Humphries was invited to Elland Road to do a lap of honour on the pitch with the World Grand Prix trophy after breaking his duck in the hunt for a TV major. “I thanked them and said I would like to wait until I've won the world title,” he revealed. “That's the trophy I really want to show off.”

Humphries, who will play Lee Evans or Sandro Eric Sosing in the second round on Sunday night, has the contented air of a man at peace with himself after a long battle with panic attacks and anxiety issues that almost made him quit darts.

He also lost around 3st in weight, became a father in October last year and has achieved an enviable life/work balance. “I'm in a good place, but life can throw you curve balls and it can all change in an instant,” he admitted.

“You've got to ride the wave but also be aware that it can all come crashing down. I know it's not always going to be a bed of roses.‌

“What I do know is that, over the last two years, I've been one of the most consistent players on the tour and you don't get into the top four of the rankings unless you are consistent.

“Now I've won my first major titles, I do feel part of the elite and now it's down to me. I've got the building blocks in place to go on and create a major success for myself… but I really want that world title. That's the one I want, but it's the hardest one to win.

“A lot of people think it will be one of me, Gezzy (Gerwyn Price), Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright or Michael Smith, but someone could surprise us. Your pick out of the Grand National sweepstake who comes out of nowhere to win could happen this year.”

Source: Read Full Article