Rob Cross admits “no one is safe” in the 2019 World Matchplay despite being installed as the new favourite to take the title in Blackpool.
The 2018 World Champion has dismissed his tag as favourite to land the Betfred
World Matchplay trophy following the shock early exits of Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson on Tuesday.
Cross, who takes on Polish ace Krzysztof Ratajski in Round Two on Wednesday, believes that anyone can now win a major in the PDC.
He told Live Darts: “I genuinely don’t think you can predict one tournament or one game anymore.
“With the Challenge Tour and Development Tour now so strong, any player can step up and deal with playing on the big stage.
“I managed to do it and win the Worlds 18 months ago and we’ve seen Nathan Aspinall step up and perform brilliantly this year.
“When you get to any tournament now no one is safe from getting beaten, not even Michael or Gary.
“I think it’s amazing for the fans. It makes it the most unpredictable sport in the world. The quality being shown from so many players now is outstanding.
“You just have to turn up now and hope you can produce your ‘A’ game at all the right times. That’s not easy but it’s something I’m having to learn very quickly.
“Timing and consistency is the key nowadays. James Wade is the king of grinding out wins and just delivering great timing.
“Am I favourite now? By ranking yes but that means nothing when you get onto the stage. So I don’t believe you can start dishing out who is favourite or predict anything.”
Cross began his third Blackpool campaign in style with a 100.6 average in a 10-3 rout of Chris Dobey, a scoreline by which he won his only previous televised meeting with Ratajski at the 2018 UK Open.
The world number two, however, is expecting a tougher test from ‘The Polish Eagle’ – who was the top-ranked ProTour qualifier heading in to the tournament.
He added: “Krzysztof sort of sums up the standard at the PDC right now. He is ranked 37 in the world but has won three ProTour titles and can be awesome when he’s on his game.
“All I can do is focus on delivering my best game and hope it’s better than his on the night.
“I hit a nine-darter in practice yesterday so I feel good right now. But it’s a different ball game on that stage.
“It’s ridiculously hot up on that stage. I think some of the guys have done amazing to deal with it. Mervyn King was melting up there last night.
“I’m not sure how it will be tonight. I might need to spray a whole can of Lynx all over me and hope that does the trick!”