Reigning Premier League champion Jonny Clayton admits he cannot wait to launch his title defence in front of his home…
Reigning Premier League champion Jonny Clayton admits he cannot wait to launch his title defence in front of his home crowd on Thursday.
The Ferret enjoyed a fairytale debut campaign in 2021, qualifying for the play-offs before defeating Jose de Sousa in the final to claim the top prize of £250,000.
The Llanelli ace can expect a raucous reception when he is introduced as the defending champion at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.
The 47-year-old, who opens the night against debutant and good friend Joe Cullen, says he will relish the moment, but admits the nerves will be jangling.
“It’s great to begin the defence back in Wales in front of my home crowd,” he told Live Darts.
“I cannot wait for this atmosphere. I think it’s going to be electric.
“I’m never going to forget that feeling [when I get introduced as the reigning champion], so I hope it’s the best one ever.
“My family are going to be there, I’ve got a lot of friends coming up and it’s a fantastic crowd. Thinking about it, I’m going to be quite nervous.”
Clayton is aiming to become only the third player to successfully defend his Premier League crown after Phil Taylor (2006) and Michael van Gerwen (2017).
The world number eight also captured the Masters, World Grand Prix and World Series of Darts titles during 2021, but underlined the importance of backing up those triumphs this year.
“It would mean everything. I just don’t want to be a one-hit wonder; I want to carry on,” he added.
“The defence of this would be a great place to start, so let’s see what happens. I just don’t want to be one of those to win something and get lost.
“I want to try and win more. Hopefully, I can do similar to what I did last year.”