Phil Taylor has sensationally claimed that he thinks world number one Michael van Gerwen has got just a 25% chance of winning this year’s World Championship. Taylor was speaking to Josh’s Dartistry after his comprehensive 3-0 first-round triumph at the Ally Pally against DPA qualifier David Platt, and ‘The Power’ was in bullish mood.
Taylor performed impressively on Sunday night, averaging 101.93, landing three maximums and converting 50% of his double attempts. The 55-year-old bust an 81 finish in the final leg which would have seen him post the highest average of the tournament so far, and his highest first-round average at the Worlds since 2003.
Understandably, Taylor was in confident mood: “I’ve got a massive chance, trust me. I’m not going to bull**** you, I’m not that way, but I’ve got a massive chance of winning this; seriously. I can tell you now, the way I’m practicing, what I’ve been doing back home with our Christopher, I’ve got a massive chance of winning it. 102 is rubbish really, I’m going to improve, 100%.”
Taylor is priced at 10/1 to win his 17th World Championship title, which are his longest odds in the history of this competition. The main reason for Taylor’s price is that fact that he’s set to meet Michael van Gerwen in the semi-finals, but the Stoke-on-Trent ace was unconvinced about the Dutchman’s prospects of winning a second world title.
“Will Michael van Gerwen win it? No. I don’t think he will; not this year. I don’t think the pressure’s too much for him. He excels in pressure, but he’s not got the best record here. Do I think he’ll win it after winning one out of four, no I don’t. 25% chance I think. The bookies are not daft though, except from giving me 10/1,” Taylor quipped.
Taylor is appearing in his 28th World Championship and he boasts an astonishing record, having NEVER lost in the first-round, dropping just nine sets over his 28 first-round matches. Nevertheless, ‘The Power’ insists that he still feels the opening game jitters.
“Yes; without a shadow of a doubt; everyone does, especially when you’re playing somebody who has already played, because he’s got match practice; he’s been on stage, done it and then he’s back up again. It’s harder to play someone who’s already been up. I wish I’d been up first and then played him, because you’re ready.”
Next up for the 16-time world champion is a showdown with Kevin Painter in a repeat of their iconic 2004 World Championship Final, where Phil recovered from 4-1 down to prevail in a nail-biting deciding set. The pair also met in the second round of last year’s event, with the 55-year-old running out a comfortable 4-1 victor.
Taylor boasts an unbelievable record over ‘The Artist’ having won their last 30 meetings, and Taylor declared: “Kevin Painter is going to be a battle, of course he is, but he has got a battle with me now. I will go home and do what I normally do, but I’ve changed something. I’m doing something different and I ain’t going to tell you. We’re in business.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC