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O'Shea reveals 'unbelievable' pressures on players

Rob Bartlett
November 12, 2013 « Froch not as big as he thinks he is - Groves | Chartbeat test »
Tony O'Shea believes many players rely on sponsorship to compete at a professional level © PA Photos
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Tony O'Shea has reiterated the "unbelievable" pressures of being a professional darts player, believing it would be impossible to survive without sponsorship.

O'Shea, who faces Andy Hamilton in the second round at the Grand Slam of Darts on Wednesday, stated individual sponsorship is a necessity when it comes to competing on tour.

The three-time BDO world championship runner-up praised the hard-working mentality of the modern-day player, and described the calendar year as "relentless".

"Everyone thinks it must be nice being a professional darts player and travelling the world, playing all these nice venues, but it's hard work and I don't think people realise that - they just think it's a game of darts," O'Shea told ESPN.

"It can take it out of you, which is why it is important when you do get the little occasions to have a bit of free time to maybe have a break from the game - but even then, you're only talking a couple of days, so it's not as if you can have a week off here and there. It's relentless.

"At different tournaments, you sometimes see players struggling with health - it really is relentless, the darts calendar. I made a joke of how quickly this time of year has come around, but we're so busy I think the years are just flying by. Sometimes it takes over you.

"Obviously the bread and butter are the tournaments. If you're lucky enough to have sponsorship, that takes the pressure off there. I've been very lucky the last six or seven years, I've had great sponsors and without them you wouldn't be able to do it.

"The pressure of having to win money just to cover the costs of going places - you'd soon end up in debt if you didn't have great sponsors.

"The exhibition work helps a little bit, but going back to what I said the pressures of being a professional darts player are unbelievable. You're only judged by what you earn and what you do, so if you go through a bad patch it can snowball and get out of hand - so again, that adds more pressure."

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