As much as I would like to avoid the subject, I have to start this column by talking about the World Championship and my second round defeat.
As the dust has settled in the last few days, I have become more philosophical about the exit and am now just set on achieving my goals next year – both on and off the oche. It is all well and good being wise after the event, but I know now that I put way too much pressure on myself going into the Ally Pally and it was counterproductive.
I was nervous and unsettled in my match against Jim Williams. Sometimes you can get away with that but in a match that is only first to three sets, there is no hiding place. It is no secret that I would love to win the World Championship, it is the only TV major that has eluded me. It is the question that I am always asked and I would like to provide an emphatic answer to it.
READ MORE: James Wade opens up about 'frightening' health scare and his future in darts
It is hard to pinpoint what went wrong for me. I have been practising like crazy, I felt good, my team is settled and working really well, and my preparation was decent – it just didn’t happen when I stepped up on the night.
I will say this though, it has been a draining year and I things maybe just caught up with me. I was extremely ill earlier this year and that really hit me for six. I was then given the amazing opportunity to play in the World Series, which is fantastic, but it is essentially a world tour. At the same time, my second son Alf was born which meant anxiety when I was away and sleepless nights when I was at home.
I have also been much more aware of my responsibility to use my position and voice to try and help people more. Over the course of the year, I have focused heavily on bipolar disorder and building my understanding of the condition and how it affects fellow sufferers. I now plan to build on that by doing more to highlight the challenges faced by people dealing with ADHD as well.
While I wouldn’t say this has distracted me, it has been new to me. Like anything, you have to get used to new things and balance them all out as part of your life. I guess my point is that I am ready for 2023 and feel that I have given myself a platform to achieve things I can be proud of both – at and away from the dartboard.
Talking of 2023, it will actually be my 20th full year on the PDC Tour which is pretty unbelievable. I know most of you assumed I was only about 25 from my youthful good looks!
While it does seem like a lifetime ago that I first played on the tour, I must remind myself that I haven’t even turned 40 yet and many of the top players didn’t really get going into way past that mark. Gary Anderson won his first world title at 45 and Peter Wright at 50, so there is a real chance that my best is yet to come.
Can James Wade win a darts major in 2023? Have your say in the comments section below
I would like to end this column thanking each and every one of you for your support over the last 12 months. The messages I have received since starting this column, opening up more about my bipolar challenges and generally putting myself out there have been amazing and have kept me going. I really do appreciate it and I hope you will stick with me.
Happy a very happy New Year and I will see you on the other side.
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