Paul Nicholson is pleased with his progress over the last twelve months and aims to continue to improve in 2012.
The Asset had a solid year, including reaching three televised quarter-finals, and he wants to do even better this time around.
He said: “The aim is always to keep improving. I would class last year as a year of improvement for me. I won three Pro Tour events, which is more than I have before. I got further in every major tournament then the previous year, apart from the Players Championship which I had won the year before. My goal for 2011 was to do better than 2010 and I think I’ve done that so I’m really pleased.
“This year I’d like to consolidate my floor form, climb the rankings and improve once again in the majors. I’ve learned some lessons and probably could have won a couple of televised tournaments last year if I had been a little bit wiser in the head. The goal is to win two majors this year. I will have to work hard to achieve that because everybody gets better every year, but I won’t be lazy and I will get better again, that’s for sure.”
The first of those major wins could potentially come at next month’s World Cup of Darts in Hamburg, where Nicholson will represent Australia with Simon Whitlock. The pair are seeded second for the tournament.
Nicholson said: “I have a great fan base in Germany so I am really looking forward to playing there. Simon and I have a very good relationship and I think we have an excellent chance. I believe that everybody would love to see an Australia versus England final, but we will have to work very hard to get there. We are up against some very good teams but I think we have both got the attributes to go all the way.”
Nicholson became one of the most talked about people in darts last year as a result of his charismatic image and his surge into the top ten in the world rankings. The Australian is pleased with his form and his stage presence.
He said: “I think it was a really big achievement for me to get into the top ten and stay there for a few months. I knew all along that I would drop out if I couldn’t defend the prize money from winning the Players Championship by retaining it, but getting into the top ten and dropping out has given me the desire to get back there.
“In terms of my image, I think I have a good one. Darts has become an entertainment sport, so if we lose that element we would lose a lot of the fans with it. I like being one of the ‘box office’ players and there are players who are possibly better than me but don’t get the same coverage because they don’t have a good image. In order to keep it going though, I have to back it up by playing good darts. I really believe that both my ability and the entertainment factor I provide will help my career shoot forward.”
There had been speculation that Nicholson may have been included as a wild card pick for the prestigious Premier League, but the Asset missed out and he doesn’t begrudge the decision.
He added: “I think they got everything right. In my opinion Kevin Painter deserves the chance more than anybody and Andy Hamilton has timed his run to perfection. I am disappointed because I thought I might have got lucky but I know I didn’t do enough.
“I’ve moved down to the Midlands now where I’ve got my own space and my long term plan is still on course. If I continue what I’m doing here than I know I can become a better player and this year I will hopefully do more than enough to be included next time.”
By Chris Murphy