GERWYN PRICE believes playing behind closed doors at the BetFred World Matchplay might help him “control” his way to glory.
The double Grand Slam champ will go into the new dawn of darts as a big favourite to land the first big stage major since lockdown in Milton Keynes later this month.
Price, 35, has been a Marmite character of the game over the past 18 months but has undoubtedly proved he is a player of the highest talent.
The Iceman was a shadow of himself in the PDC Home Tour but he told PDCTV: “I don’t think it was for me. I need the adrenalin, I need the atmosphere. I know at the ProTours there’s no crowd or anything, but I think it feels different in the environment with all the players.
“Just having a player there next to you, I need that intensity. From my kitchen I just don’t think I had that.
“Obviously it’s going to be different at the Matchplay but at the same time it’s going to be the same format. It’s first to 10 in the first round and over the longer formats, I prefer that. The likes of Michael and Peter, they prefer that as well.
“It’s just a pity for the crowd, I thought there was a chance there was going to be a crowd there to come and watch.
“But at least the event is on and we’ll be playing. I’m just happy to be playing again. We just have to deal with it.
“I don’t mind if there’s a crowd or not. In TV events and the big majors, the crowd does make it extra special.
“I can deal with the crowd or without, it doesn’t really matter. In Butlin’s I got to the quarters I think. It was a bit difficult there.
“I try to be myself but the rules being different you have to be quiet. I don’t know if the rules are going to be the same.
“On the ProTours I have to play within myself, control myself a lot more. Sometimes I play a bit better, it can work both ways for me.
“If I can control myself on the big stage I seem to play better then as well.
“Sometimes when I play within myself, I control myself a lot better. But it’s hard to do it on TV when you’re in the moment, you’ve got the crowd, the atmosphere, the adrenalin, it’s difficult to control yourself. It just comes out.
“Some people think that I do it on purpose but I don’t. When you are in the ProTour and it’s all quiet, it’s easier to control yourself. Easier to keep yourself in the zone.
“I might win the Matchplay behind closed doors, I might play better, you never know.”
Price is adamant that the top stars will be raring to go with high quality when the Summer Series kicks off on July 8 and then the Matchplay on July 18.
He also believes that he can go all the way to World No.1 over the next half a decade. He added: “You always get surprises but I think you will see the usual boys get towards the end of tournaments. I’ve been practising harder than ever and I’m ready. I just think everybody is going to hit the ground running and be in top gear after the first game.
“I’m still pretty new when you compare me to other players. But I’ve got a hell of a lot more inside me. I played well in the Grand Slam last year, decent in the Worlds.
“I’ve got more inside and if I can bring that out over the next three, four, five years, then I think I can get to No.1 and hopefully I can be as dominate as Michael over the past few years. I truly believe I can be.”
Pictures by Taylor Lanning