Michael Van Gerwen is hoping to re-assert his dominance at the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters on Thursday so he can win another trophy shaped like a coffee pot and serve his family tea.
The brilliant Dutchman won the first three Darts Masters titles in Dubai and was or course to complete the set before losing to Gary Anderson 11-9 in last year’s final.
‘Mighty Mike’ led 8-4 at one stage and looked on course for an unprecedented fourth straight success before the ‘Flying Scotsman’ swooped to claim a staggering victory.
And although he won’t feel too much like making a brew with the UAE temperatures soaring into the 40s in recent weeks, the recently-crowned 2017 Premier League Darts champion is keen to get his hands on another stunning ‘Dallah’ trophy.
“I have three of these trophies at home and hope to add another to the collection. I’ve got lots of nice tea cups,” said Van Gerwen, 28, of the Arabic-themed trophy.
“And I want more for the rest of the family so I can serve everyone tea.
“It’s always been great so far. Last year I messed up a little bit and lost the final to Gary but I can’t really complain. I always go quite well and I enjoy myself over here. That’s really important.
“I’ve got a tough draw against Raymond (Van Barneveld) but what can I do? I just have to play and prepare well and make sure I win.
“Against Barney I feel quite comfortable because it’s the third time I’m playing him here and I’ve never lost, so that will give me a huge advantage.
“But you still have to play well. You have to prepare well and if I do that I have a good chance. But there’s a lot of other good players who want to get their hands on the trophy as well so you need to be prepared.”
Anderson, meanwhile, starts his bid to retain his title against darts legend Phil Taylor, who retires at the end of the current season, on Wednesday, and knows he’ll probably have to beat Van Gerwen again if he is to defend his title.
“For three years Mike has been the best player in the world,” said Anderson, 46.
“He’s just come away from lifting the Premier League and everyone is gunning for him, it was nice to stop him last year but there’s no pressure now.
“Anyone of them players can lift the title, the game is getting so hard now, if you lift the title you’re lucky given the standard of players nowadays, so I’m just going to enjoy it.
“We’re all as good as each other and to win any tournament you have to beat who is in front of you. It doesn’t matter who it is, whether it’s Mike or Joe Bloggs, whoever it is you’ve got to beat them to go on to win any tournament.”
The darts title of the desert remains one of the few accolades 16-time world champion Taylor hasn’t won, and although the 56-year-old admits he’d love to lift it before calling it a day, he’s not putting any pressure on himself.
“I’ll have a go,” said the Englishman. “If I won it I’d be over the moon, but I’m not worried about it.
“There’s no pressure on me, if I win it, I win it, if I don’t, I don’t. I’ve won that many titles anyway so it isn’t going to make a difference, it’s just the money that’s a bonus really.”