‘I’m a World Darts Championship star and eat Nando’s to prepare for big matches’

Michael Van Gerwen previews World Darts Championship

Darts star Nathan Aspinall is bidding for glory at Alexandra Palace this year at the World Championship, but won’t be without his unusual pre-match meal in London. He won the World Matchplay earlier this year and is hoping for his first-ever world title, where Nando’s is likely to play a big part in his tournament.

Aspinall’s first Ally Pally match this year is against either Ricky Evans or Simon on December 23 and the 32-year-old will treat his family to some peri-peri chicken a few hours before he competes. Most modern athletes have a strict diet on the day of their competition and Aspinall is no different, regularly going to the restaurant as he detailed his day of a big match.

“We chill out in the day, I’ve got my family coming up with me – probably entertain the kids for a few hours in the afternoon,” Aspinall told talkSPORT. “There’s no better prep than a Nando’s – that’s all we do! We go for a Nando’s about four hours before, get myself ready and I head to the venue probably about three hours before my game.”

Aspinall’s preparation has been different to most players, even without considering his pre-match meal, having skipped the last major tournament in Minehead. He has not competed professionally for a month but has been putting in plenty of practice with the current world champion.

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“This is the one that every player wants to win,” he added. “It’s life-changing. I’ve just been smashing that practice board, I’ve been playing a lot with Michael Smith – obviously there’s not better in the world, he’s the world champion. So yeah, it’s going good. I’m confident that I’m going to have a good run.”

Aspinall has come a long way from the beginning of the year, after admitting that he could not throw a dart after suffering a career-threatening wrist injury that hampered his ability to play.

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“The start of this year was so much harder than my injury. It was a different scale,” he told the PDC. “In the Premier League, I was 4-0 up against Peter [Wright] in Brighton and I was playing unreal darts.

“All of a sudden, I couldn’t throw my dart and I lost 6-4. That was the lowest point of my career. The day after that I got on four trains to Tottenham to speak to a sports psychologist, and six days later I was in Rotterdam playing Michael [van Gerwen], with 12,000 fans against me!

“It was probably the worst situation I could have been in, but I went and won the night, and that shows the strength and determination that I have. I’m trying to push a few players that have been struggling with their game, because it’s worked absolute wonders for me.

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