Swedish darts player Peter Sajwani, born 1977, qualified for the BDO World Championship 2015 and reached at his debut the last 16. He caused a big upset when he eliminated the number 1 seed James Wilson first round though his first big success he already celebrated in 2014 when he won the Torremolinos Open.
During the Lakeside World Championship 2015 he came into contact with Paul Gillings, head of the Darts Performance Centre, who offered him to produce his Peter Sajwani Signature darts. As Paul told he watched Peter playing and based on the players personality thought to give him a hand by sponsoring him in this way.
During the Winmau World Masters I had the chance to talk to Peter and I now can confirm that there is a good reason for Peter's nickname "Chatterbox"!
Peter, during the last BDO World Championship you caused an upset when you eliminated the number 1 seed James Wilson from the tournament - how did the year that started so promising for you go on?
It went on very well indeed. Among other successes I won the Swedish national championship which is still the tournament every player wants to win in Sweden. I am the number 1 in Sweden now and was nominated for the national team.
As some other Swedish dartplayers you take part in the SDC Tour - are there any problems with the BDO/WDF over this?
There are no problems at all.
Or are there any tensions between the national Swedish dart organization and the PDC?
I don't know about any tensions. On the contrary - the national organization even encourages us to take part in the tour.
Do you feel the SDC Tour is a viable project and did it help you to progress?
That's a real viable project. You win a lot of experience playing it which helps you to improve. And you can earn some price money as well. The participation fee is so low that with one win you already get the money back.
One sometimes hears that the number of participants in this tour a rather low - is might be the interest in the sport of darts in the Scandinavian countries not really big?
At least here in Sweden it's by reason of the player's mentality. The Swedish players seem to find fault with everything and they not really like it to play against better or strong players. They seem to have no interest to improve and their main aspiration is it not to lose.
You once took part for Sweden in the PDC World Cup - now you are member of the Swedish team for the WDF World Cup, which are for you the differences between the two organisations?
Well - I would say the main difference is the price money you can win. And of course in the PDC all the matches are played on stage - at least during the major tournaments.
Could you imagine playing on the PDC Circuit? Did you ever think of taking part in Qualifying School?
I can't see it in the moment. I am just not ready for it. I would need much more time to practice and I would need a good sponsor. But one could say it is a long time goal.
Would that be more expensive than playing on the BDO/WDF Circuit? You travel a lot anyway I suppose.
It would be much more expensive!!! The participation fees are much higher.
Your home town is Stockholm where Stefan Lord comes from as well - did you ever meet him?
Oh yes - I've met him and know him. He doesn't practice anymore and doesn't play much anymore either. But he is still a very good player. He is still one of the organisers of the biggest tournament in Sweden and I think he still owns two restaurants in Stockholm.
At Stefan Lord's peak time Sweden was a darting nation - is that still the case?
To a certain degree Sweden still is a darting nation. In several cities - among them Stockholm - darts is very popular and there are a lot of tournaments and leagues in which you can take part.
Is darts a recognized sport in Sweden?
Do you play in a league or club in Stockholm?
Yes, I play in a league in Stockholm. You can find there leagues for every possible level as most don't want to play against better players and might be lose...
Which were till now your biggest successes?
I would say this run in Lakeside last year was my biggest success.
And what would you like to achieve? Do you set yourself goals?
I really would like to win Lakeside once. I think that is feasible especially because the format gets longer in the later rounds of the tournament and that suits me better. My short time goal at the moment is to qualify again for Lakeside next year but then by the ranking. That means I will have to play me up the ranking till at least rank 24 of the BDO Invitation table.
Playing the WDF World Cup you only play for the fame - how important is it for you to play for your home country?
That's something really honourable to be nominated for the national team. I got the title "best valued player" as well. One really feels honoured.
How long do you play darts and how did it happen?
I was 14 or 15 when I started to play. We had a pool club at our school and you could play darts there as well. In Sweden there are a lot of activities for the youth anyway and you even can win some money by those.
Had you any role models or idols?
My idol always was Magnus Caris. He at this time dominated the sport of darts in Sweden.
When I look at your surname I assess there where Indians among your ancestors - where you born and grown up in Sweden?
I was born on Las Palmas - in Spain. And I lived there till I was seven. My mother came from Sweden and then returned there with us. My father was from India. But I've no close connection to India or my relatives there.
Do other members of your family play darts?
Not really, my brother plays a little bit but only for fun.
Would it be possible to earn your living with darts in Sweden?
No, that would not be possible at all in Sweden.
Are you a professional player or do you have a job to earn your living?
No, I am not a professional darts player. I work with the homeless and drug addicts. I often work the night shifts - those are better payed. And I do a lot of overtime as well. So I can take time off lieu for playing tournaments.
Where do you play darts in Sweden - are there dartboards in pubs like in England?
Usually you play darts in private clubs. But there are boards in pubs and restaurants as well and the youth are allowed in to play accompanied by a grown-up.
Is soft-darts in Sweden existent at all?
Barely. It's still extremely rare.
Is the youth in Sweden might be more interested in soft - darts then in steel-dart?
There are a lot of youth activities in darts in Sweden. Might be not as many as when I was a youth. But I myself really thought as well whether you could not reach more young people with soft-darts.
Did you yourself ever try your luck in soft-darts?
Only for fun. But I think it is too easy.
How difficult is it in Sweden to find a sponsor?
It is very difficult in Sweden. The reason is that you can't earn any money at all sponsoring a darts payer in Sweden. I've contacted Bulls as well, as the company sponsors some other European players - my friend Vladimir Andersen for example - but they were not interested.
One of your sponsors is the Darts Performance Centre - how did that happen?
Paul watched me playing in Lakeside and then he approached me and offered to produce my signature darts.
Are you interested in topics like sport science or coaching?
Probably.... I really like to watch other players. I myself already "acted" as a darts coach, I think I am quite good in advising other players.
Did your practice change over your cooperation with the DPC and how?
Not yet. But Paul and I have already discussed video analysis and should I need immediate advise or just want to talk about what I do he of course would be there for me.
How does your practice look today?
At the moment my focus is on the doubles. Beside this I've to finish every week a practice task which elite group members have to master if they want to get nominated for the national team. I am not quite sure all the tasks really help but as an elite player I have to finish them.
Is your preparation for a tournament different from your usual practice routines?
No - I don't do anything different for a tournament. But there are some requirements for members of the national team. There exist a detailed schedule for the day of the tournament - like getting up at six, a little bit of practice, take a shower, breakfast, warming up at the venue etc.
Do you have a practice partner or do you prefer to practice on your own?
I usually practice at home on my own. But I play a lot of tournaments. They are part of my practice as well.
Did you do video analysis of your throw and were any "technical problems" of weaknesses detected?
We've not yet done this though I really would like to do it. But I am in Sweden and Paul is in England - we didn't find the time yet. Before and after a tournament in England I couldn't find time till now either.
The Darts Performance Centre produced you Signature Darts - is it some kind of a dream for a dartplayer to get own Signature Darts?
That is of course a dartplayers dream!!!And my darts really sold quite well so far, all my friends and fans wanted to buy them.
What makes your darts special?
That's quite easy - you just don't miss with them!!! Before I got those darts I always played with Jim Pike darts which still are sold in Sweden. But I always dreamed of my own, slightly changed designs which I've got now with my Signature darts. And till now no one defeated me with my own darts!
What was changed and why there is already a slightly changed dart on the market??
It was not really a big change - only two groves were added at the far end of the barrel. When I started to play my signature darts it occurred to me that the grip didn't feel 100 percent for me. That's something that can happen with an own design. Now they just feel better in my hand. I am happy with them and I was not yet defeated since I play with them.
Are you one of those players who are always changing the set-up to get better?
No. When I've found out what works for me I stick to it. The only thig I always change before a tournament are the flights. For a tournament I always use new ones. At home it doesn't really matter for me but it is important for a tournament.
Do you do something to keep you bodily fit and is darts for you a real sport?
For me darts is a real sport. But the only thing I do for my fitness is taking part in tournaments...
Is some kind of mental practice part of your practice routine as well?
I talk a lot to myself - mostly positive self-talk. And I think it's important to learn how to hide your feelings while playing in a match.
Do you like it to play on the big stage?
I really like it to play on the big stage and the moment I stand at the oche I stop to feel nervous.I am very very nervous before a tournament. I don't sleep well and can't sit still or relax. But as soon as I stand for the first time at the oche and throw my first dart I don't feel nervous any longer. I would prefer it I wouldn't feel like this before a tournament. But might be without that stage fright I couldn't perform.
What's your walk-on music and what means it to you?
"I want it all" by Queen. As I didn't use it often till now I can't say it means something to me. But I can imagine it will get important to get into the right mood for a match.
What fascinates you most in darts?
To win!!! I always want to win. The competition is only a means to an end. I think you have to feel that winning is just normal.
What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?
To be sure that stage fright is my weakness...but might be it is a strength as well?
Do you have any hobbies and interests outside darts?
No, I wouldn't have the time anyway. My girlfriend plays darts as well - luckily. So that's how we pass our leisure time.