Barry Hearn doubts Michael van Gerwen can emulate Phil Taylor's darts dominance

Last Updated: 09/01/14 11:08pm

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Michael van Gerwen: World title was his destiny, says Barry Hearn

Michael van Gerwen: World title was his destiny, says Barry Hearn

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PDC chairman Barry Hearn believes Michael van Gerwen faces a tough battle to become a dominant figure in world darts due to the increased competition in recent years.

The Dutchman clinched his first world title after a thrilling 7-4 victory over the colourful Peter Wright at Alexandra Palace, which also took Van Gerwen to the top of the world rankings.

Phil Taylor has dominated the sport for over 20 years, winning 16 world titles, but Hearn admits Van Gerwen will struggle to emulate the record-breaking feats of The Power.

Van Gerwen raced into a 4-0 lead before Wright mounted a valiant fightback, and Hearn told Sky Sports News: "I thought it was a fantastic match. Michael has been on fire throughout this tournament and the season, it was his destiny to win the world title.

"Peter Wright looked out of it early doors, but he staged a magnificent fightback and the crowd were entertained by some brilliant darts.

"It's a great way to start a new year and a great way to welcome in a new champion, who deserves to be there. Michael is only 24 but he's been in the wings for the last six or seven years threatening to do this.

"He had a great year last year, winning the Premier League and the Grand Prix. He lost in the world final to Phil Taylor, but he's learnt from that and I think he's ready to be a dominant force.

"But within the PDC and professional darts generally, the standard is so high that we're probably never going to see the likes of a Taylor dominating for 20 years.

Wide open

"The game now is wide open and the number of kids coming through and playing amazing darts is going to change the face of the game.

"It's exciting times for the sport, and it's going to be tough for anybody to stay at the top for long."

Taylor crashed out to Michael Smith in the second round at Alexandra Palace, but Hearn insists the defeat will inspire the 53-year-old to come back and add to his haul of 16 world crowns.

"I think Phil's a consummate professional who loves to compete," Hearn added. "He had a bad day at the office in the World Championship and he's gutted that he's not won 17 titles instead of a mere 16. He's a legendary figure in darts and he's not going away.

"Inevitably, he's not going to be as dominant as he has been, but he's still going to be there or thereabouts, and I would bet against him coming back and winning another world title."

The darts focus now turns to the 2014 Premier League which starts on February 6 in Liverpool, where the new world champion faces a mouth-watering clash against Taylor.

Wright and Dave Chisnall will make their debuts in the 10-player competition, and Hearn is confident the 16-week tournament will be the best in history.

He said: "The standard is so high, it's frightening how good these top professionals are. When you've got 10 great players like that playing each other at 16 venues you've got five brilliant matches every night.

"It can't be anything else other than totally unbelievable, and I think it's going to be the best Premier League we've ever had."

Don't miss the 2014 Premier League Darts live on Sky Sports, coverage starting on February 6

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