Monday 16 September 2019

James Wade issues apology for 'thuggish behaviour' following tense showdown

James Wade during day seven of the William Hill World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace
James Wade during day seven of the William Hill World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace

PA Sport

James Wade has apologised after he said he "wanted to really hurt" Japanese player Seigo Asada after aggressively shouting in his face during their PDC World Darts Championship match.

World number nine Wade was given a major scare by the qualifier at Alexandra Palace before eventually progressing to the third round 3-2.

"I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise for my actions last night," said Wade.

"Seigo Asada is a great player and I would like to say sorry to him, the fans and the PDC.

"Anyone that has followed my professional career will know that this was very out of character for me and I am disappointed in myself with the way I acted both on stage and in my interviews after the match.

"I was fighting a battle with myself before I even got on the stage due to a hypo mania episode which can happen to me at any time and no-one is more upset than I am about what happened.

"I would like to again apologise and hope that people can understand how remoresful I am."

Former player Wayne Mardle described Wade's behaviour as "thuggish" and said there was no place for it in darts.

"I kept giving it to him, I wanted to hurt him, I wanted to really hurt him in his face," an unrepentant Wade told Sky Sports.

"It wasn't a great game but I wanted to hurt him and I wanted to progress. That's for my son, and also for the UK."

Wade, who will face Jelle Klaasen or Keegan Brown next, twice came from a set down to progress, with the major talking point coming when he attempted to intimidate Asada by yelling in his face after levelling at 1-1.

Mardle, who was working as a television pundit, was appalled by the incident and felt Wade overstepped the line.

"Does he mean he wanted to punch him in his face? What does he mean? I'm absolutely lost for words," said Mardle.

"That's just not on. The intimidation, overly aggressive, I hope he wakes up in the morning and thinks, 'I've made a mistake there'.

"He can't think that's right and no-one watching it can think it's right. That's thuggish behaviour, there's no place in darts for that."

The gripping encounter between Wade and Asada came after Simon Whitlock became the latest big name to crash out of the tournament.

Eighth seed Whitlock, a finalist in 2010, suffered an emphatic 3-0 loss to debutant Ryan Joyce.

The Australian follows 2007 champion Raymond van Barneveld and third seed Peter Wright in making an early exit

Englishman Joyce, who will meet Alan Norris or Ireland's Steve Lennon in the last 32, said: "He didn't play anywhere near what he's capable of and I'm happy I was able to take advantage and not blow it under pressure.

"If I can put it all together, I can go a long way but I don't look ahead too much."

William O'Connor upset James Wilson after winning a five-set thriller in the opening match of the evening session, while Michael Smith came through a below-par performance to beat Ron Meulenkamp 3-1.

In the afternoon session, Kim Huybrechts produced a fabulous display to whitewash Daniel Larsson and set up a meeting with 12th seed Dave Chisnall.

The 33-year-old Belgian landed six 180s and averaged 103.26 as he romped past the Swedish qualifier 3-0 without dropping a leg.

Northern Irishman Brendan Dolan threw the tournament's first 170 checkout en route to demolishing 14th seed Joe Cullen in straight sets. He will play either Meryvn King or Jann Dekker in the last 32.

In Wednesday's first-round contests, Noel Malicdem came from 2-1 down to defeat Jeffrey De Graaf 3-2 and set up a meeting with Australian Kyle Anderson, while Nathan Aspinall comfortably beat fellow debutant Geert Nentjes 3-0 and will next play sixth seed Gerwyn Price.

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