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World Darts Championship 2019/20 Day One preview and order of play: MVG commences title defence on opening night

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World Darts Championship 2019/20 Day Two: Afternoon Session preview and order of play

Van Gerwen is “there to be shot at” admits Price ahead of World Championship quest

Jamie Shaw in World Darts Championship 12 Dec 2019
Price celebrates stopping the rot against MVG (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Gerwyn Price admits Michael van Gerwen is “by far the best player in the world” but is “there to be shot at” as he looks to replace the Dutchman as World Champion on January 1.

Price heads to Alexandra Palace in his best-ever spell of form, having retained his Grand Slam title last month before finishing runner-up in the Players Championship Finals a week later.

The Welshman, who is provisionally ranked world number two, starts out at his shortest-ever odds (5/1) to be crowned William Hill World Champion and has been widely touted as Van Gerwen’s most significant threat in the sport’s show-piece.

Price has emerged as MVG’s closest rival this season and finally ended his 19-match winless streak against the Dutchman at the Grand Slam, though the world number one gained his revenge in the final in Minehead the following weekend.

The box office duo are situated in opposite halves of the draw at Ally Pally, meaning they are on a collision course to meet in the final, and Price admits he is determined to knock the green machine off his perch at the palace.

“Michael is always there, he’s number one in the world and I don’t think anyone will ever be better than him,” Price told Live Darts.

“I think he can be knocked off number one but there’s not going to be a better player than him, he’s there to be shot at and hopefully I can be there to contend for that number one spot.

“He’s by far the best player in the world but I’m going to give him a good challenge.

“I’d love to be number one in the world but it’s not all about rankings, I just want to stay in the top four.”

“It’s a tough tournament for me, I’ve not really had the best of times in the Worlds but this year I’m in the best form I’ve ever been in.

“I just really want to get through the first game and then get into the tournament, then I’ll be alright, I just need to settle in.

“I prefer the Matchplay and other places where the atmosphere is a lot better and the crowd are a lot closer, but for a party atmosphere, Ally Pally is second to none and hopefully I can experience it for more than one night this year.

“I’ve always believed in my ability and known I can beat the top players, now I’m one of them.”

Seeded number three, Price is bidding to banish his torrid record in the William Hill World Championship, having lost in the opening round of four of his five previous appearances.

The passionate Welshman is renowned for wearing his heart on his sleeve on the big stage, but after a turbulent spell following on from his first Grand Slam success, he has now begun to alter opinions purely on the basis of performance.

He added: “I’m quiet, laid-back and I like to be the one at the back of the room left alone, but when you come onto that stage you just become a different person.

“It’s the same as the rugby, I don’t try and tackle someone just to get them on the floor, I’m out there to hurt people.

“In darts it’s the same, I’m up there to win at all costs and I don’t hold back, I just give it my all.

“If my all isn’t enough then he’s a better player, but the last year it’s been good enough.

“I don’t really think I’ve had any low points, I don’t put myself under pressure, as long as I go up there and perform it doesn’t really matter.

“Out in Ireland [Grand Prix] it was a bit tough and it upset me a little bit, it wasn’t nice but I’ve moved on from it.

“That’s the way I felt at the time and I wanted people to know how, and from that day things have got a bit better anyway so I think that helped.”

The former Rugby player has become one of the most recognisable faces in sport but has remained true to his roots back in the Valleys and is keen to keep darts separate from his normal life as a family man.

“Back in my village of Markham I’m just the same person,” admitted Price. “I’ll go to my local and have a beer, but when you go away you have to pinch yourself sometimes, it’s a bit surreal.

“Outside of darts people ask me for pictures and I don’t like being the centre of attention, but you can’t escape it on that stage.”