luke littler

Darts stars 'frustrated' by Luke Littler's rise - but their wallets are getting fuller

DartsMay 19, 14:42
Michael Smith has revealed that Luke Littler's recent rise in the world of darts has irked some of the sport's top players, despite the financial benefits they’ve reaped from his success.
Littler, a 17-year-old prodigy, captured global attention by reaching the final of the PDC World Darts Championship earlier this year.
Although he was defeated by Luke Humphries in the final, Littler's momentum has not waned. He has since claimed victory in multiple tournaments and currently leads the Premier League Darts standings.
Smith, a former world champion, is set to face Littler on Thursday in the semi-finals of the Premier League play-offs at the O2 Arena in London.
Despite Littler's impressive run, Smith acknowledges that not all players are thrilled about the teenager's inclusion in the tournament.
"There's a few getting upset with it but listen my pockets get full every time he gets mentioned," Smith told The Independent. "I think they are getting annoyed. I had it last year [after winning the world championship], Littler is getting it all now."
Smith elaborated on the financial dynamics at play, explaining that Littler's presence in the sport is beneficial for everyone. "The people at 70, 80, 90 all they should think about is that their money is going to keep going up and up and up.
The more this kid is playing, we get better sponsors, hopefully Eddie (Hearn) puts the prize money up again, £1,000 to £1,500 on the ProTour."
He emphasized that Littler's success should be seen as a positive for all players. "My money is just going to keep going up because some kid is doing it for me. I'm not annoyed and the other players shouldn't either, the kid is doing nothing wrong. People are annoyed that he got in [the Premier League] and I can say there's a couple of the boys in the top 16 who are annoyed. But he is going to pocket us so much money."
Littler's extraordinary performance has earned him high praise, with former four-time world champion Wayne Mardle dubbing him the "best in the world" after Littler secured his spot in the play-offs with two weeks to spare.
"I do believe Luke's playing like the best in the world - and he’s getting better. Right now he has this swagger - just imagine how good he will be in five years," Mardle said. "There's a definite comfort zone with him now, shushing the audience, having the guts to do it, having the composure to do it and not letting it bother him or put him off. He seems to have come out of his shell - there has been a change in him."
Mardle concluded with optimism about Littler's future in the sport. "There's a lot to like about his game, and let’s hope it stays that way for many a year, but that's four wins in the Premier League now and he's more or less wrapped up the league phase with two weeks to go."
As Littler continues to rise, the debate among his peers underscores the impact of his meteoric ascent on the sport of darts.
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