Already for decades John Michael is a darts player. He is the so far first Greece darts player to build up a reputation. He is the first and so far only Greek with a PDC Tour Card. Before the PDC World Championship 2021/22 - his fourth PDC World Championship - he kindly answered me a few questions.
John - you certainly are a dart legend - how did you get in contact with the sport?
Thank you for the compliment. Well, when I was a teenager, I used to riding so I met a lot of English people who played darts for fun of course. Then I stuck, I liked the challenge that darts make you feel, and I found a darts team where I could play more than fun. And that was it. I kept darts to my life, and I tried to play professional and do more and more for the sport that I love.
Is the sport of darts far spread in Greece and is it more soft-tip or steel- tip?
No unfortunately it is not. There is more people than the past who play darts, but Greece can't compete with central Europe countries in that field. Steel tip is the most spread.
Are there some young and upcoming players in Greece we can look forward too?
Yes we have twins Dimitris and Hilias Tsalikis fourteen years old, which are playing already very good and we try to support them and their darts future.
You are around in the sport for a long time already - how to you manage to stay interested?
I always try to win myself and to reach my personal goals. In every single moment I try to exceed myself. I love darts since I was a little boy and every time that I stand to oche- line I feel like this is the first time that I play darts with the same love and passion as the very first time. My secret is to win myself!
Do you still practice and if - what do you practice? And do you do something special to prepare for the World Championship?
My practice is based on doubles and combinations with high finishes from 121 and up. I also use metal training and I try to gain physical stamina with swimming.
Do you know your opponent and is it for you in any way important against whom you play?
Yes, I know my opponent we met at the past. For me with all the respect to my opponents it doesn't matter who is the opponent in the line. The opponent for me is always John Michael. You see, we have first to control and win us, and the real win will come.
You are a Tour Card holder - how difficult is travelling at the moment for you due to Corona?
Very difficult with or not Corona! You see Greece as all the countries that they are not in the central
Europe, they have big travelling issue. The transportation is expensive and with many middle stops. So
that cause to players an extra tiredness especially when the tournaments are continuously.
Corona gives to all the players an extra cost and effort to keep the distances, to be careful not to have any contacts before the travel. We must be careful to be able to participate. This how the globally situation is everywhere, so we must to comply with the rules
I suppose you are not a full time professional - do you have a sponsor or sponsors who support you financially?
I am a full time professional, but I also have my sponsors.
ZWA sport management of Will Lazard is my basic sponsoring company, and Will Lazard is my manager
Dartsline.com my e-eshop and
DEHOLL physiotherapy institute
What is your profession? And how are you able to combine your job and playing darts?
I have my own darts e- shop dartsline.com. This job is flexible, and it can fit in my schedule, because I don't have a specific business time to work, I can work remote or at nights. My wife also helps me when I am abroad and this how I combine job and darts
You often show strong matches when playing on stage. Do you prefer playing on the big stage to playing in floor tournaments?
Of course, I prefer to play to big stages instead of floor tournaments. The feeling is so fascinated that I don't change it with anything at the world
Are there many tournaments in Greece? And are some played on the stage in front of a crowd as well?
Unfortunately Greece hasn't many tournaments. Only topic events and these are quite small
When you look back all those years in your carreer - are the players now better then when you started to play?
The level is higher than in the past , and every year that passed became higher. This is our challenge as professionals players , to become better than the last year and drive the professional darts to a unique spectacle
And would you say, you yourself dveloped as a player and can develop still further?
Yes definitely. I feel that I have to give a lot at the darts community. I try to develop my personal skills year after year and I feel that people haven't seen yet my real possibilities
What for you was your biggest success in darts so far and what do you still hope to achieve??
I have forty one titles and it is very difficult to decide what was the biggest success because the
effort was remarkable for all of them.
I hope to achieve my participation to the World Championship every year for now and on.