Phil Taylor believes he would still reach the World Championship final this year if he was given a wildcard for the tournament, before revealing that a bad hip is preventing him from making a shock comeback to the sport.
The 16-time world champion retired from professional darts in 2018 – reaching the final at Alexandra Palace in his final competitive event before losing 7-2 to inspired debutant Rob Cross.
Nevertheless, Taylor admits the competitive edge has not dwindled. “I’m not really a big watcher of darts, but I do enjoy it when I watch it,” said the 59-year-old.
“When you watch it you want to play. I think ‘I could beat him now’. That’s the only reason I don’t watch a great deal of it. When I’m watching it I want to play.
“If I had a wildcard, I’d beat half of them without any bother, of course I would. I’d get to the final. They would love it! Michael [van Gerwen] would love me to be at the World Championships, trust me.”
Taylor was speaking live at Target Darts’ HQ in Harlow after practising with five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld, ahead of the Dutchman’s final tournament before retirement.
The pair shared one of the most iconic rivalries in the sport and already have a host of exhibition matches lined up for 2020. Taylor also admitted he was considering the prospect of entering next year’s UK Open qualifiers, although health reasons have prevented him from doing so.
“I thought about it next year, but I’ve got other things that have come in now unfortunately. I’ve not got the time. My hip has gone. I’ve got arthritis in my hip. It’s been going for about 10 years but I’ve got time now to just nip in and get it done and time to recuperate.”
“I was going to go and enter it just for a bit of fun, to see how far I could get through. To see their faces laughing at me,” added the legendary Stoke-on-Trent star.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC