Darts legend Phil Taylor will undertake a tough training regime this year in a bid to keep one step ahead of the game’s rising stars.
’The Power’ showed once again last night that he is the greatest-ever player by winning his 11th title at the Ladbrokes.com World Championship in Purfleet.
But the 43-year-old was pushed all the way by Cambridgeshire thrower Kevin Painter before clinching victory in sudden death.
The score was tied at 6-6 in sets and 5-5 in legs when Taylor nailed double five to send the Circus Tavern crowd crazy.
However, Taylor realises that players such as Painter, Mark Dudbridge, Wayne Mardle and Colin Lloyd are raising their own standards and are becoming serious contenders in the major tournaments.
“My target is to win every tournament I enter,” said Taylor, who lost an epic final against John Part 12 months ago. “But the world championship is extra special.
“I’m going to dedicate myself to getting really fit this year. I’m going to be on the rowing machine, on the treadmill and will also be doing a bit of boxing.
“These young lads are coming through and they’ve got more energy than me. I can’t practice as much as I used to do and it’s annoying me. I get tired.
“Yesterday I only practised for 90 minutes whereas other days I practice for three or four hours.”
Taylor sets himself such high standards that he felt his performance against Painter was not quite as impressive as he has managed in previous years.
“Personally, I think I dropped a tiny fraction last night on what I can do,” he added.
“Last year or the year before I had an average over 100, and it’s a sign that I’m getting a little bit older. But the lads are upping their averages.
“My ‘A-game’ is not as consistent now as it used to be and I’ve got to work at it.”
Painter led 4-1 at one stage and also 5-3 but had no regrets after finishing up second best.
He said: “The pressure and the heat was just crazy up there. To get to the final is great. Obviously I wanted to win but I’ll come back another time.
“If I had missed a shot at a double to win, then I would have been in a bit of mess. But I just didn’t get a shot, so there you go.
“To play darts like that under that pressure is incredible. I know what I’m capable of and I can carry this on.”