Ratajski: “It’s a really amazing feeling; those are the best players of the world.”
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 29/10/18 5:58pm
Krzysztof Ratajski joined an exclusive club of Pro Tour weekend double-event winners with his Players Championship victories in Barnsley just over a week ago, and we caught up with the man of the moment to discuss his stunning achievement.
‘The Polish Eagle’ secured back-to-back titles with victories over Chris Dobey and Adrian Lewis in the final two Players Championship events of the campaign, to join an illustrious list of 12 players to have achieved the feat.
The former World Masters winner failed to secure a Tour Card at PDC Qualifying School back in January and his participation on the Pro Tour circuit has therefore been limited.
Nevertheless, despite competing in just 10 floor events this year, Ratajski has completed an incredible hat-trick of titles, with his victory at UK Open qualifier six in February preceding his historic Players Championship double.
The 41-year-old defeated a host of established stars throughout his 14-game-winning run, beating James Wilson, Steve Beaton, Daryl Gurney, Michael Smith, Kyle Anderson, Dobey and Lewis, and he admits he was in dreamland.
“Before the start of the weekend my target was to win a few thousand which could help give me a chance to go to the first 64 in the main ranking after the end of the season.
“I thought that one or two thousand in the Players Championship and winning one match in the World Championship should be enough.
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“Of course I dream about winning one Players Championship and getting a place in the Players Championship Finals but it was rather a dream,” Ratajski said.
The Pole’s incredible 14-game run has only been matched by Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson this year, and he admits it is an honour to be in such esteemed company.
“I know that when I win one tournament I have achieved a lot and I had to motivate myself strongly to fight in every match. It’s a really amazing feeling; those are the best players in the world.”
Ratajski rose to prominence on the PDC circuit last year by virtue of his European Tour performances. He qualified for 11 of the 12 events in 2017, although this year he missed out on qualification for the European Championship.
“I did not have one match to win a Tour Card last year and then I knew that it will be a very difficult year for me.
“I was hoping for more on the European Tour and there I saw a chance for good results. But it turned out completely different and I didn’t get to the European Championship in the end,” Ratajski added.
Nevertheless, he’s set for his Players Championship Finals debut next month and will make his second consecutive PDC World Championship appearance, although he faces a nervous wait to see if he’ll feature at the Grand Slam.
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Considering Ratajski doesn’t hold a Tour Card, his success this season has been unprecedented. He’s broken into the world’s top 64 and is poised to secure an automatic Tour Card in 2019.
“I’m sure these two wins have given me a lot of confidence. I know that everything is possible. I will want to do my best in all those major tournaments and I am hoping that I will make a surprise,” said the Pole.
Ratajski will certainly be one name that the seeded stars are desperate to avoid in the early rounds at Alexandra Palace, but given his exploits this season, there won’t be many left surprised if he adds to his list of big-name scalps.
Darts season is in full swing and continues on Sky Sports with the Grand Slam of Darts in November and the World Championships which get underway from the iconic Alexandra Palace on December 13.