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Mardle: Being Littler comes with jealousy from ‘rattled’ competitors

Sky Sports Darts’ Wayne Mardle believes that Luke Littler will have to get used to jealousy from his fellow competitors as his star continues to rise.

Littler cemented himself as the main man to watch again heading into Night Seven of the Premier League after a big performance on the Euro Tour, hitting a nine-darter on his way to victory in Belgium.

The moment was not without it’s drama, Littler facing a tense moment with Ricardo Pietreczko after beating him in the semi-finals.

After Pietreczko had squared up their semi-final at 3-3, Littler won the next four legs to book his place in the final. But the match appeared to end on a tense note with Pietreczko having words with Littler as they shook hands.

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Luke Littler hits a sensational nine-darter against Rob Cross in the European Tour final.

Writing on his Instagram Story after the match, Pietreczko said: “Well, I really appreciated him being able to play a game like that at such an age, but I hope his arrogance punishes him.”

For Mardle, it was impressive to see Littler’s nonchalant reaction to the moment, proving that it is not easy to “rattle” Littler but rather, others are rattled by Littler outperforming them.

“Pietreczko has done this four or five times, when he gets beat, he doesn’t like it,” Mardle told Sky Sports.

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German Ricardo Pietreczko had a feisty exchange with Luke Littler after losing to him in the semi-finals of the European Tour.

“But he normally acts in a pretty petulant way. And to be honest, this is kind of expected but what wasn’t expected was the reaction from Luke – he couldn’t care less.

“Honestly, look, Littler has got this constitution that is relaxed, he is focused when he has to be, he enjoys the crowd interaction with them and enjoys the game. He enjoys the pressure, all of this and he’s just 17.

“There’s going to be jealousy, they’re going to be jealous for the things that come his way with sponsorships, the endorsements, the money, the fame, the media attention, where some think that they deserve it more than Luke, whether they do or not is absolutely irrelevant.

“But the likes of Pietreczko couldn’t rattle him. You can’t rattle Littler. That in itself is rattling.

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Luke Littler produced a perfect seven during his European Tour Darts debut in Belgium against Jose de Sousa.

“I think a lot of players think they can intimidate a 17-year-old. But the drinking of the water [Littler appeared to shake his hand when opponent Krzysztof Ratajski drank from his bottle in Belgium at the weekend], it’s happened for the last two decades. It’s not a big thing. It’s just a mistake.

“When you’re involved in a game, you’ve got your blinkers on and you go to the wrong table. The reason that these players are becoming rattled, is because the Luke Littler is a better player than them and they don’t like it.

“And he has got this confidence. He’s got this swagger, see it is arrogance, but you tell me a big hitter in the world of any sport. Someone that’s got this, this ability to achieve. They’ve all got what’s seen as arrogance. I think it’s just an inner confidence that comes out with Luke.

“Like I said, he’s living his best life – if someone gets annoyed at his way that’s not for him to worry about. That’s for them to worry about and deal with deal it because at the moment, they’ve got to deal with him for decades to come and good luck with that.”

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Luke Littler stunned Nathan Aspinall in the opening leg of the quarter-finals of the Bahrain Darts Masters by hitting a nine-darter- can he do the same in the Premier League?

Littler is an ‘anomaly’- the next MVG or Phil Taylor

With Littler continuing to produce such incredible moments, Mardle believes we are only going to see his star rise and also, the sport of darts continue on an upwards trajectory as a result.

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Speaking after Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Southampton in the FA Cup, Jurgen Klopp compared his academy players to teenage darts sensation Luke Littler!

“Every time Littler picks up these darts and is in front of a crowd, he comes to life and the Premier League has been pretty difficult for him, he’s doing things game after game where you think this young man is going to win at any moment,” he added.

“And when he played in the Bahrain masters, hit a nine-darter and won that on his debut in the World Series and then he did the same on the European tour, beating Rob Cross in the final.

“He is an absolute anomaly, he’s a freakish dart player and that is said as a term of endearment.

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Speaking on Love The Darts, Richard Ashdown and Megan Wellens discuss Luke Littler’s start to life in the Premier League.

“He does not rely on feel and touch like a lot of the others. So he just basically picks up the dart, draws his arm back, and as you can see there, propels the dart and he does it so well.

“There was a lot of talk straight off the World Championship, about going easy on him because this is gonna be difficult, this is going to be a hard transition for him. He’s gonna feel under pressure. It’s coming at him too quick.

“Throw what you like at him, he loves it. He’s playing the darts of his life. He’s living his best life and as you can see there the camaraderie that he’s getting with a lot of the players now because of the Premier League, you can see that Rob Cross was was revelling in Luke’s success.

“I was on Twitter last night saying that I’ve never seen anything like it apart from Michael van Gerwen and and Phil Taylor.

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Luke Littler hit a 170 checkout during his quarter-final match against Peter Wright on Night 4 of the Premier League in Newcastle.

“The excitement around darts now is just incredible. And you’ve kind of got a feel for Luke Humphries in a way. He’s the world champ, world No 1, probably playing the best darts of anyone. But Luke Littler steals all the headlines because he has come from nowhere.

“We knew about him years ago, I mean four or five years ago, but he’s now doing it against the world’s best on a daily basis and long may this continue because the rise and rise of Littler is helping the rise and rise of darts.”

See Luke Littler next in action on Night Seven of 2024 Premier League Darts live on Sky Sports Arena and Main Event from 7pm on Thursday March 14. Stream Sky Sports with a NOW Sports Month Membership – just £21 a month for 12 months. No contract, cancel anytime

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