Phil Taylor takes on Adrian Lewis today at the Betway Premier League Darts round in Glasgow, so Approved Garages catch up with him to see how he’s been getting on over the past 5 weeks.
How is this year’s Premier League Darts going to be different from the last one?
For me it’s hugely different, with it being my final year. It’s been brilliant to be a part of the Premier League since it began but it’s time for me to stop now so I just want to enjoy this last season.
Is there anyone in the Premier League this year that makes you want to up your game?
Michael van Gerwen’s the one, he’s setting the standard for everyone and he’s a cracking player. He can be beaten but we just have to prove it, so I’m looking forward to it when we play in Rotterdam, and I’ll be giving it my best shot.
Last year, you told us you had some new super duper ‘Ferrari’ darts – have you got yourself a new pair this year and how to do compare?
My sponsors Target have got the right darts for me – they’ve stopped the bling! I needed to get the right dart – the darts he has been doing have been great, but not the perfect ones for me, and these are perfect for me now.
How are you feeling at this early stage of the Premier League darts?
I’m feeling great so far. I’m unbeaten and I know I’ve not played at my best yet, so that’s great that I’ve got the points on the board because every point is vital. There’s no pressure on me now, so I’m not worried about whether I win, lose or draw.
How do you think the standard of playing has changed from five years ago and why?
The standard’s massive now – averaging over 100 used to win you tournaments but now you’re getting knocked out in the first and second rounds. The kids coming through are all capable of doing that, so everyone else is having to improve their games too.
Who are you most looking forward to playing?
I love the games with Barney – it’s still special even now and I think we both enjoyed it last week. He’s been the one over the last ten to 15 years who’s always been there pushing me, we’ve got a great rivalry and you can see that the fans love it and it’s great for TV too. We played last week in Leeds and hopefully we both get past Judgement Night so that we can play again in the second half of the season.
Has darts changed for you over the past few years?
It’s changed massively now and the players now are so much more professional. The way that the PDC has grown, and brought in the youth system, means that there are kids coming through now who are unbelievable. You’d get to some events and be playing people you’ve never seen before and they’re averaging over 100, and they’ve no fear. They don’t care how many titles you’ve won, they just want to beat you.
Why do you think 2017/18 is the right time for you to retire from the sport?
It wasn’t a hard decision. Most people don't want me to retire and they tell me that they'll miss it. I will too, but there are other things I want to do. I want to slow down now and do other things with my life, like spending time with my grandchildren before they grow up. The hardest part is the motivation. My body can't take four or five hours in the practice room anymore, and the travelling takes its toll too. I can walk away with the best memories in the world of what I’ve achieved, and the rivalries that I’ve had are great.
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