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Darts at risk of major Luke Littler problem as Luke Humphries worried after defeat

Luke Humphries is worried Luke Littler may one day become so dominant that it actually turns people away from darts. The 17-year-old has brought a wave of attention to the sport since reaching the World Championship final last December at the age of 16.

The Warrington-born teenager has become one of Britain’s most popular sportspeople since then. Though he lost to Humphries in the showpiece match at Ally Pally, he’s since become a genuine force to be reckoned with on the PDC Tour.

He had won the Bahrain Masters, the Belgian Darts Open and the Austrian Open Darts before on Thursday night becoming the youngest Premier League Darts champion ever. The teenager even hit a nine-darter in the final against Humphries, his fourth of the year.

Littler got Ally Pally revenge with an 11-7 win at London’s O2 Arena against the world No.1 and had tears in his eyes after the first Major title of his career. A classy Humphries said: “I think everybody is desperate to see him win, everybody wants to see Luke Littler win.”

Yet he also warned: “It will get to the point where probably in ten years time it’ll end up being like Phil Taylor where nobody wants to see him win anymore because he wins everything and that’s the unfortunate events that happen.

“But he’s won his first major title, we all knew it was coming. We didn’t know when it was going to be but it was always going to happen.

“Of course he’s beatable but tonight he wasn’t and if we look at it as a whole, he was definitely a deserved champion and I’m sure he’ll win many, many more.”

Littler himself said: “I’m a major winner, I can put myself in that hat now – I can’t wait to go to New York next week [for the Masters] and after that I’ll have to have a week off in Orlando.”

After netting £275,000 by winning the Premier League final, Littler said of runner-up Humphries: “We’ll meet in many finals – and now it’s 1-1 in finals!” The pair have met nine times with Humphries trailing 7-2 despite winning the World Championship final.

The 1994 world champion Dennis Priestley says Littler is “bringing the sport to a whole new level almost on his own”. He told BestAnonymousCasinos: “The dart boards and equipment are flying out the shops for all the manufacturers.

“It’s been a breath of fresh air for everyone involved in the sport. He has burst onto the scene like a young Mike Tyson, who would often beat his opponents on fear alone.

“There is that fear factor around Littler already which comes from the way he is playing and the way he is winning. Littler is going to earn enough money to keep him going for a lifetime in a very short space of time, he’ll have £10 million before he hits 25.

“That’s different to Phil Taylor who didn’t see the huge prize funds until the last few years of his career.

“Keeping that desire is something that young Littler will have to sort out in his own mind to keep himself motivated.”


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