Luke Littler has brushed off suggestions he should pay attention to the career of Emma Raducanu has the teenager continues to make waves in professional darts. The 17-year-old was at it again on Thursday night, beating Luke Humphries to gain another measure of revenge for his PDC World Championship final defeat.
He then overcame Peter Wright before losing a thrilling final with Michael van Gerwen, missing two match darts before going down 6-5. But he lies third in the table, and looks nailed on to be in finals night at the conclusion of the campaign.
But as the media frenzy continues, it’s Humphries who has called for fellow professionals to look after ‘The Nuke’. Citing the mass attention Littler currently has to deal with, he told the Mail: “We should look out for him. He has handled it so well but it is a lot.”
The comparisons between Littler and Raducanu have been endless. The tennis star was 18 when she stunned the world at the 2021 US Open, becoming the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam event.
Her triumph made her an overnight sensation, and a string of endorsements and event appearances followed. She was also crowned the BBC Sports Personality for that year, and won the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award.
But the now 21-year-old has struggled on the court ever since her very own fairytale of New York. Now ranked No.296 in the world, she’s not got further than the second round of a Slam since.
Raducanu’s story has been cited as a warning to Littler over his own career. But when pressed on the subject, the Bahrain Darts Masters winner was notably unflustered.
“‘I’ve not really looked into anything like that to be honest,” he said, dismissing the notion that he’s concerned about a drop in standards. Asked if he was aware of Raducanu’s rise and fall, Littler replied “Not really.”
Littler, to his credit, has remained grounded despite his sudden superstardom and huge earnings. After his £200,000 windfall for finishing runner-up at Ally Pally, he said he would be spending his lump sum on X-box games and under armour tracksuits.