Taylor: I would be world number one again

Phil Taylor will turn 60 in August and despite not playing competitive darts for over two years, the 16-time world champion believes he would still be world number one if he were to make a return.

Taylor called time on his astonishing career after losing to Rob Cross in the World Championship final on New Year’s Day in 2018 and although he’s featured prominently on the exhibition circuit and appeared in soft-tip tournaments since, he’s not made any form of PDC return.

However, in an exclusive interview with the Darts Show Podcast, the Stoke-on-Trent legend admitted he was poised to enter this year’s Rileys UK Open qualifiers, only for prior commitments to curtail a potential return.

“I thought about doing the UK Open, I spoke to Barry about it,” said Taylor. “I phoned him and said I might go to the Rileys qualifiers and see what the crack is, just for a bit of fun. He thought it was fantastic.

“When we checked through dates if I had qualified I was supposed to play in a soft-tip tournament in Japan that would have clashed with the UK Open. Maybe next year but I am not so sure, I am 61 next year and I am getting too old for it.”

Nevertheless, despite Taylor’s protestations about his age, when asked by former world number one Colin Lloyd about where he would be ranked if he were to return, the 59-year-old was typically bullish and insisted he’d relish the opportunity to lock horns with Michael van Gerwen.

The 16-time world champion won 34 of their 62 competitive meetings and defeated the Dutchman in six of their last nine showdowns – including a memorable quarter-final clash at the 2017 World Matchplay, which saw Taylor triumph en route to glory in his final Winter Gardens appearance.

“Would I still be in the top eight? I’d be world number one. I would get him {MvG} I would,” Taylor quipped. If I had been his age he would have got it, trust me, because he isn’t mentally as strong as I am. He knows that. I used to wind him up something rotten. I used to have him crying all the time.

“He would have loved it but we would have had a great rivalry and I would have loved to play Michael in his prime and me in my prime. I don’t know what the outcome would be but I would work some way out to try and beat him.

“He is one hell of a player and I do actually like him, even though he winds you up. He is quite fun to be around. He’s 100% the best player in the world but he will feel the pressure now.”

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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