Peter Wright says being able to defend his PDC World Darts Championship in front of fans is spurring him on after he has “felt depressed” this year.
The Scot, 50, who starts his campaign on Tuesday, said he was “hating every minute” of lockdown and even contemplating his future.
The darts schedule has been heavily affected and tournaments have latterly been played behind closed doors.
“I put on loads of weight – eating and drinking – it did my head in,” he said.
“I felt like ‘I don’t want to be here anymore’ and ‘it is a horrible place’, but you have to try and find little positives. You have got to try and stay around for your family and stuff like that.
“When I lost the Grand Slam, I just thought I could just walk away from game and not bother getting up the next day. But that is just me being selfish in my head – other people matter.”
Up to 1,000 fans from areas in levels one and two of the UK government’s tiered structure will be able to attend each session at London’s Alexandra Palace.
But they will have to adhere to a variety of strict guidelines, which include not singing or chanting, and not wearing fancy dress.
World number two Wright, one of the sport’s most colourful characters, said having the chance to “entertain” has renewed his motivation.
“People have come to see you so you have got that extra pressure, that adrenalin, the excitement of them being there,” he added.
As defending champion, Wright could be said to have a target on his back. But he maintains the pressure is off him because he has now achieved his dream of winning the sport’s biggest prize.
And while ‘Snakebite’ remains convinced he will win the title again at some point, he is hoping a rib issue sustained earlier this week does not derail his chances this year.
“I haven’t gone to the doctors, but it is getting worse and it is actually affecting the release of my throw,” he said.
“I did jump over a fence the other day and I am 50 years old so I might have pulled something. It just feels like something is digging into me.
“It is probably MVG [top seed Michael van Gerwen] who has got a voodoo doll and he is putting some needles in.”
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