Michael Van Gerwen: It’s me against myself. That’s always my mentality.

The world no.1 has had this trophy on the bucket list for too long.

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Fresh from securing his fifth World Grand Prix title, world no.1 Micheal Van Gerwen has no plans on taking his foot off the gas as he looks ahead to the one trophy that has eluded him to date  – the Champions League. It was a rocky start to 2019 for the Dutchman but after grinding out a first-round victory in Dublin last week, he took no prisoners from then on in and he’s adamant to not let his form slip.

“I come here on the back of winning my fifth World Grand Prix which I was delighted about and maybe I’m peaking at just the right time for the Champions League now. It would be really nice if I could continue the form into this weekend in Leicester.

“The Champions League is a tournament I haven’t yet won and it’s still on the bucket list for me. I win so much that you can’t win everything and you can’t be annoyed for not winning certain tournaments, that’s just the way it goes. I take each tournament as it goes and set out to win everyone I compete.”

Securing a place in Champions League is an achievement in itself to some players but MVG is eyeing nothing but that £100k prize.

“Winning the tournament this weekend would be a success. Anything else would be failure in my eyes. It doesn’t count. That’s just my mentality. I put that kind of pressure on myself all the time.”

“I view every tournament that it’s me against myself. I can either win the tournament if I want by playing well or I can lose it by playing poor. Certain players at this moment are playing well and they can do damage but in this form and coming into a tournament like this I know what I’m capable of, especially under big pressure with Rob Cross behind me, so I just keep concentrating and keep myself motivated.

“I enjoy the pressure of being World no.1. I’ve been there for six years now so I’ve gotten used to it. I can only really drop down if I skip tournaments so the key is to keep consistently playing, and playing well.

I’m not looking out for anyone this weekend. They have to look out for me. I have a painting in my house that I bought and it’s called ‘Do the right thing’ and that’s something I like to live by and hopefully I can do that this weekend.”

Nine-Darter for the Crowd

After a cracking debut tournament as Champions League sponsors, Paddy has generously doubled the prize fund for the crowd to £100k if any player shoots a nine-darter during the tournament and MVG is hopeful it happens this weekend.

“It’s nice for the fans that we could potentially give them some money too. They come to have a good time but that would be a lovely bonus to be able to do that for them.

“There are a few players that I think could do it this weekend; Michael Smith, myself, Gary Anderson, Peter Wright. We all have the potential to do it, it’s just about making it happen on the day and I hope we do.”

Step up to the oche for the Champions League of Darts at PaddyPower.com