Michael van Gerwen backs Phil Taylor to bounce back from World Championship exit
Last Updated: 02/01/14 2:35pm
Michael van Gerwen has been reflecting on his "dream come true" as he celebrates being world champion, but is remains wary of a Phil Taylor backlash over the next year.
Mighty Mike held off a superb fightback from Peter Wright to clinch his first World Championship title with a 7-4 victory over the gallant Scot in an enthralling final at Alexandra Palace.
The victory atoned for his defeat to Taylor in last year's showpiece and took him to the top of the world rankings, but Van Gerwen admitted it will be tough for anyone to match Taylor's haul of 16 world titles in the future.
"It feels amazing. It's a dream come true and it was the biggest day of my life," Van Gerwen told Sky Sports.
"To win the world title means so much to me, it's the biggest thing in darts and I'm very proud of myself to have won.
"Last year I lost in the final to Phil Taylor, he played phenomenal darts. But this year I did it. I played so well in the whole tournament, I've had a great year and I'm very happy to finalise it with a World Championship.
"I always aim to win every tournament, but it's not easy when the field is so big. There's so many good dart players and you need to take it game by game and try not to take too many big steps in case you fall down."
"Last year I lost in the final to Phil Taylor, he played phenomenal darts. But this year I did it. I played so well in the whole tournament, I've had a great year and I'm very happy to finalise it with a World Championship."
Michael van Gerwen
Wright was a surprise finalist having gone into the tournament as 16th seed, and Van Gerwen has been impressed with the Scot's form over the last 12 months.
The 24-year-old has got the better of Wright in several meetings on the PDC Tour in the last year, and he insisted that gave him the edge over his opponent in the world final.
"Peter played really well and deserved to be in the final," he said. "He had a great year as well, I played him a lot, maybe 10 or 12 times, and I beat him in a few semi-finals and finals.
"So I had that confidence and a winning mood against him, and I managed to keep that going in the world final," added Van Gerwen, who raced into a 4-0 lead as Wright struggled to hit his doubles early on.
"At the beginning of the game I played really well, I won the first four sets with a 105 average.
"But when you're 4-0 up you're sniffing the title and that makes you really nervous. At the end, I held my nerve and had a great 72 finish to win the title."
Taylor's defence of the title ended with a stunning second round defeat to Michael Smith at Alexandra Palace, but Van Gerwen insists the 53-year-old remains a huge threat in the game.
"Of course Phil Taylor will bounce back," he said. "He's still the biggest man in darts in my opinion. He's won the world title 16 times and I've only won it once. I'm very happy with this one, but I don't think anyone will ever win as many titles as Phil did.
"He's a phenomenal player and a good guy, but it's not about Phil Taylor at the moment, it's about me. I won the tournament and I'm the new world No 1 so the others need to catch up!"