The Daily Star’s FREE newsletter is spectacular! Sign up today for the best stories straight to your inbox
Gerwyn Price says that he will refuse to call himself a world champion if he becomes the king of Ally Pally this year.
Price is considered by many as the favourite to become darting royalty next month, but without the raucous surroundings of darts' colourful fans, he believes the 2020 event will not hold the same prestige.
It is looking likely that a handful of supporters will be able to attend at Alexandra Palace under the government's new Tier system, but it won't be the traditional Christmas knees up.
Price is usually the pantomime villain – but insists that that the changed environment is not a true representation of the top tournaments.
Price, who starts his campaign in the Ladbrokes Players' Championship on Friday night against John Henderson, said: "Winning majors without all the elements, the crowd, the pressures… I don't class this year as major TV wins for people winning them, including myself.
"It would be good to win the £500,000 (for winning the World Championship) and good to pick up the trophy and to be classed a world champ.
"But if I was to go and win it this year and never win it again, then I would just class it as never winning it."
Price has won two PDC premier events – the Grand Prix and the World Series – since the return to action, which has come without fans in the UK and minimal spectators abroad.
It has meant that one of Price's biggest obstacles has been completely removed: heckling fans.
The Welshman has been on the end of boos for jeers from supporters since he stepped into the big time, but has been winning them round after ousting Michael van Gerwen as the most red-hot player on the tour over the past 12 months.
"I'm definitely not missing the boos," he said. "You put up with it to a certain extent but you rather that it doesn't happen.
"It came to show towards the end of last year when the crowds were with me rather than against me and I was playing better.
"But saying that, the boos made me a stronger person and moulded me into the person and player that I am… I don't know which way to look at it but I'd rather I wasn't getting it every week.
"I got used to it week after week and I just expected it, but this one time out in Ireland in the Grand Prix about two years ago, it was really tough.
"I was playing against Dave Chisnall, I was leading in the game and went on to lose.
"It was a real hostile crowd out there and was quite upsetting. It was probably the lowest point that I have been where the crowds are on my back.
"But it made me stronger, it made me a better player so I just went on, forgot about those and tried to put them behind me.
"Towards the end of that year when I was playing really well, they sort of changed as well, so that was good."
Price also defies the typical stereotype of a darts player, with a bulked up shape on the back of his former rugby-playing days.
He even once posed naked for The Times and their My Sporting Body segment.
"I had never done anything like it before so I was a bit anxious and I wasn't sure I wanted to do it!
"I wasn't the typical shape of a darts player but saying that, I hadn't been playing darts for too long."
However, pumping iron has had to take a back seat over the past year, as Price bids to become the world No.1.
"I have been away a lot compared to what I have done in previous years," he said. "I have been going up the rankings, getting more invitations to other tournaments and stuff.
"It is just trying to find the balance and the time.
"You can't train right before games because doing a gun session or an arm session and having to play the next day, it is just not possible.
"So over the past 18 months it has been difficult to try and fit that in.
"In terms of weights and stuff, I haven't done anything. I have been doing some road running and conditioning and I seem to be doing that a lot more than lifting any weights."
Price begins his campaign in te Ladbrokes Players' Championship on Friday night in a tournament which he sees as a free hit.
It is the final major before the Worlds, but also the last for some players to gain important ranking points.
For Price, he cannot go up or down the rankings, so a pressure free weekend could prove to be the perfect approach.
"I cannot go up in the rankings, I cannot go down in the rankings," he said.
"So for me, this weekend is a freeroll. It is a good practice session leading up to the worlds and I am not putting too much pressure on myself to go out and win it.
"It is £100,000 for the winner, there are ranking points, but as far as the rankings are concerned, it is not the be all and end all for me."
- Gerwyn Price
Source: Read Full Article