Robert Thornton admits his missus calls him the “terrier with a heart of a lion” as he gets ready for the big time again.
The Ayrshire ace produced vintage form to qualify for the BoyleSports Grand Slam at Wolverhampton which starts on Saturday.
He’s been drawn in a tough group up against defending champion Gerwyn Price, Ladies World Champion Mikuru Suzuki and Dimitri van den Bergh.
But The Thorn is adamant he can deliver his best again. He said: “I beat Max Hopp in the qualifiers with a 106 average and his seven 180s. It just goes to show what I can do.
“I’ve had a lot to deal with the family away from the oche over the past couple of years, that’s obviously going to take priority.
“However I know when I play my best I can beat anyone in the world. It’s a hard group but then again they are all hard groups nowadays.
“I don’t know what it is about me but I always seem to draw a woman in the Grand Slam. The standard is so high now, everyone is a difficult opponent.”
Thornton has suffered an alarming slump in form since winning the World Grand Prix almost four years ago.
But he remains defiant after a Pro Tour win over Michael van Gerwen earlier this year and a nine-darter showing he’s still capable of big wins.
He said: “I’ll be quite happy if I can keep throwing well for the rest of the season.
“It was great to also hit a nine-darter. I broke my duck there because usually when I hit a nine-darter I lose!
“Rob Thornton’s not going anywhere. My missus calls me her little terrier with the heart of a lion but she’s the driving force.
“It seems like a long time ago now winning in 2015. But if anyone out there thinks The Thorn is done, I’m certainly not. I’m coming back.”
Thornton was also quick to dismiss any thoughts of quitting like the other elder statesman Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld - and hit out at gamesmanship.
He added: “I don’t care about these young upstarts coming up and thinking they can beat me. The old boys want to improve just as much as they do. We’ve got as much fire in us as them, trust me.
“Look at Steve Beaton, he’s still going strong. The Bronzed Adonis turns up, smile on his face, and churns out the results. We can all do it.
“The gamesmanship is good for watching on TV. But sometimes players go over the top and you don’t need to.
“Yes give it the big one when you take out a big finish. But not when you hit a 140 or ton, you just don’t need to. It’s silly.”
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)