GERWYN PRICE says he’s happy that his big rivals are all taking about chasing him down for the World No.1 spot.
The fiery Welshman begins the defence of his BoyleSports Grand Prix title tonight (Sunday) against Michael Smith at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
But Price, 36, is bullish about his own chances despite a troublesome reign as World Champion since January.
He vowed: “I know if I play my A game 99.9 per cent of the time I’m going to win.
“A couple of years back I couldn’t really get over a whitewash against Michael van Gerwen, every game was a struggle. I was losing 6-5 or by one leg, it was just in the back of my head week-in, week-out.
“Now the tables are turning where I think Michael thinks about these games more. Not just Michael but also Peter. I’ve won tournaments not playing well and playing well.
“Obviously being the World Champ and World No.1 people want to beat you that extra 10 or 20 per cent. They just try a little bit too hard sometimes.
“It’s hard to get to World No.1 and it’s even harder to stay there. If Peter does well and wins a couple of majors and overtakes me before the Worlds then fair play to him.
“But it’s going to be tough for him. I think I only need to win one major and I don’t think it will be possible for him.
“It’s all good that they are talking about chasing me. A couple of years ago I was chasing everybody else. I’m not looking over my shoulder. It’s up to them to catch me.”
Price has always conceded that the Grand Prix isn’t his favourite format yet delivered a cracking tournament a year ago for his maiden win, beating shock merchant Dirk van Duijvenbode in the final.
He added: “Every tournament now I go into win. Being the defending champ it would be nice to have a good run and get into the final.
“I seem to do well when I’m defending tournaments. The Grand Slam I defended and a couple of Europeans. Hopefully I’ll do the same at the Grand Prix and the big one at the end of the year as well.
“To be honest I’m not a big fan of the format. It’s added pressure. It’s hard enough to hit a double to finish as well as starting as well.
“I just don’t like the set format. Even though I won last year and the Worlds, I just prefer the sprints to 10, or best of 15.
“It doesn’t matter who you play, every game is going to be tough. I just concentrate on my own game.
“I’m defending some big money now. Hopefully I can take that pressure off and win this week.
“Obviously rivalries are good for the game, crowd and entertainment. But on a personal note I don’t think about that.”
Pictures by Taylor Lanning.