ROSS SMITH wants to “kick on” for more glory after joining Unicorn.
The European Champion signed up with the world’s best darts manufacturer this week.
Kent-born Smith, 34, burst into the elite of the sport last year with his biggest success at the Euros in Dortmund, beating fellow Unicorn star Michael Smith in the final.
He admitted: “This is another great step up in my career. Unicorn are the longest-serving manufacturer in the sport.
“They have done great things and had 21 World Champions down the years and I’m really looking forward to working with them, they are a great company.
“I’m hoping to kick on now, I’m building a really good platform for my career and joining Unicorn obviously enhances that.
“I believe in myself 100 per cent, especially since I won the European Championship.
“Even though the results haven’t all gone my way since then on TV, I still feel like I’ve played well in all of them.
“My 180s at the moment seem to be flying. I know that I’ve still got to work hard and keep my feet on the ground. I have got to kick on and grasp the opportunity.”
Smith has been playing the sport since he was in his teens but struggled to find the right work and career balance.
But he is now clearly on the right path with his highest-ever world ranking of 17 and aiming for further success.
He added: “I’ve forgotten about the Euros now. All the great sportspeople in football or golf, they say always look to the next tournament or match not behind you.
“I try and listen to people and concentrate on the next one. I’ve played a few since, it’s now a New Year and a new start and I want to get off on a good note and hit the ground running.
“I don’t set myself targets, the only target I have is to win every match.
“I think if you try and create a bigger thing and look past each round or event, you can start over-complicating things.
“At the end of the day it’s just about beating whoever is in front of you.
“To be fair I feel like this all should have happened a lot sooner. I have been around for a long time. I’m only 34 which is still young in this game but I started out in my teens in the BDO days alongside Gary Anderson, Simon Whitlock and I used to travel with Andy Fordham.
“I’ve got a lot of experience but I should have taken my career more seriously at a younger age. I regret that now but I can’t change the past, only the future.”
Smudger’s first match as a Unicorn player will be Friday’s Masters clash in Milton Keynes against Aussie Damon Heta.
He said: “Damon is such a top pro and a really lovely guy. I really admire him for what he’s done. He has come over from Australia and really worked hard at it.
“I know I feel capable of beating him. It’s a 50-50 call like most games with any players these days. It’s all on the day.
“I always play well against Damon, it’s always a cracking game. My last two have been belters against him, hopefully that sticks in his mind and I can do it again!”
By Phil Lanning