Robert Thornton admits he needs to add more bite to his game and go from Scottish Terrier to Rottweiler.
The Thorn kicks off his latest William Hill World Championships campaign against either Brendan Dolan or Alan Ljubic this afternoon (Sat) at the Alexandra Palace.
Two-times major winner Thornton has a miserable Worlds record, only once progressing beyond the third round at nine attempts.
After a barren run since winning the World Grand Prix two years ago, Thornton admitted: “I’ve always been a bit of a Scottish terrier, I never give up. But maybe I need to add a bit more aggression to my game. Perhaps more Rottweiler than Terrier.
“I’ve always been very laid back about my game. I never get too worried about anything, if I get beat so be it.
“It’s not a bad way to be. It means I don’t get caught up in any mind games and I always keep my feet on the ground, win or lose.
“But I’ve made a conscious decision to add an edge to my game. Maybe I’m too laid back, maybe I need to be hurt more if I lose.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a good loser, but I need to be a worse loser. I definitely need to be more angry and be a bit more of a worry to my opponent.
“I don’t want to be known as a soft touch. Players don’t fear me anymore. They knew before that I was always a danger, never give up and on my day could beat anyone.
“Obviously this tough run has meant I’ve lost that edge about my game. It has to return now and I know I need to perform in London.”
Thornton, 50, has been given a tough draw against either Dolan or Croatian Ljubic but has shown flashes of the form that gave him dramatic UK Open and Grand Prix title wins over Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen.
He added: “That’s the daft thing. In practice I’m still the same Robert Thornton from three or four years ago.
“Then when I get on stage that same player comes out now and again. I played great against James Richardson in the Players Championship then I did nothing the next day against Chris Dobey.
“It’s finding that consistency again. Trust me, the player that beat Phil and Michael is still in there, it’s just finding that person every time I go on stage.
“It will surface at some stage but it needs to happen quick. I’ve slipped down the rankings a bit and I need to stop that.
“The Worlds is the best time to produce something special, it can boost you up the order of merit really quickly because of the money you can win per round.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve got a good record at the Ally Pally, but not too bad either. I’ve never been beyond the quarters in either the BDO or PDC worlds.
“I can’t really explain that. But records and stats are there to be broken. I need to get through the first couple of tricky rounds and see how far I can go.
“There are no mugs in the Worlds and the short format rounds early doors are potentially very hard. Get through them and I can get on a decent run hopefully.”
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)
Photography by Taylor Lanning