Anderson ‘gutted’ by Taylor retirement!

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Gary Anderson has admitted that he is ‘gutted’ by the prospect of his old adversary Phil Taylor retiring after next year’s World Championships. Taylor claimed in January that he would retire from competitive darts after the 2018 World Championships at the Alexandra Palace, but the Scot insisted that Taylor’s departure will leave a huge void.

‘The Flying Scotsman’ declared: “I am gutted that Phil is retiring. “He has been unbelievable for the sport and will always be the number one in my books. “I’m glad he won’t be beating me any more, but I will miss our battles.”

The pair have met an incredible 56 times, with Taylor dominating the head-to-head record having registered 38 victories. However, Anderson has defeated the Stoke-on-Trent star on fifteen occasions; only Michael van Gerwen, Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis have secured more victories over the 16-time world champion.

Anderson also defeated Taylor in a dramatic final set to win his maiden world title at the Alexandra Palace in 2015 in one of the greatest World Championship finals ever staged. Van Barneveld, John Part and Dennis Priestley are the only other men to have defeated the 56-year-old in a world final.

The Scot retained his world title by defeating Adrian Lewis, before his hopes of securing a remarkable treble were thwarted by an imperious Michael van Gerwen in this year’s final. The two-time world champion has enjoyed a thrilling rivalry with the irrepressible MvG over recent years, but maintains that Taylor remains ‘the greatest’.

Van Gerwen has taken darts to unchartered territory with astonishing performances over recent years, but Anderson maintains that Taylor’s mental fortitude remains unparalleled. “If Phil at his peak played Michael van Gerwen just now then I think that Phil would win. At his peak, Phil would batter his opponent psychologically. Phil was simply the best ever.”

It remains to be seen how many more times Anderson and Taylor will meet competitively, but the pair will certainly clash in a fortnight’s time at Belfast’s SSE Arena. Their earlier match this season ended in a high-quality stalemate, but their meeting on Irish soil could be a must-win clash in Anderson’s bid to secure a play-off spot.

‘The Flying Scotsman’ currently occupies fifth spot in the Premier League table after suffering a 7-3 defeat to Adrian Lewis in Dublin on Thursday evening. Anderson trails fourth placed Taylor by two points, but faces a decisive double-header in Liverpool next week, when he takes on Peter Wright and Dave Chisnall.

However, of a more pressing matter, the world number two renews his rivalry with Van Gerwen in a series of exhibitions on home soil across the weekend. Anderson faces ‘Mighty Mike’ in Motherwell on Friday night, with Vincent van der Voort, Michael Smith, Bobby George and Wayne Mardle also in attendance.

The world’s top two players will then clash in Edinburgh just 24 hours later on Saturday night, and Anderson is desperate to delight his home faithful and upset the odds by defeating ‘The Green Machine’.

“Obviously I am always keen to beat Michael at any time. It is always good to show him that he hasn’t got it all his own way. “I believe that if I play my A game and put him under pressure at the right moments, I will beat him.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Anderson was speaking to ‘The Motherwell Times’ ahead of his exhibition double-header in Scotland. The full article can be viewed here: http://www.motherwelltimes.co.uk/sport/more-sport/gary-anderson-sorry-fellow-darts-great-phil-taylor-is-retiring-1-4413691

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