MICHAEL VAN GERWEN says that the Grand Slam of Darts title is the only one in his mind as he prepares to defend his title in Wolverhampton next week.
The world number one has dominated the PDC circuit for the last couple of years and has won every TV ranking title he has competed in so far in 2016.
While van Gerwen admitted that recapturing the World Championship title that he won for the only time in 2014 has always been his ultimate target this season, he revealed that he won’t allow himself to become distracted by the sport’s biggest prize.
“One of the reasons I have been so successful this year is because I have had one-hundred-percent focus in every tournament I have played in,” said the Dutch star, who has won an incredible 22 titles this year.
“I am going to the Grand Slam to win. That’s the only thing in my mind. It is too early to think about the World Championship and every time I win, I get more confidence and that makes me stronger. There is no better way of preparing. That’s why I play in most events, to win, get more confidence and get stronger.”
van Gerwen, who won the Grand Slam for the first time last year, has been drawn alongside three-time BDO World Champion Martin Adams, Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan and German youngster Max Hopp.
Having already retained his Masters, UK Open, World Matchplay, European Championship and World Series of Darts titles in 2016, ‘Mighty Mike’ is determined to successfully defend his Grand Slam crown.
“It was a big moment for me to win last year because it was the only big tournament I hadn’t won at that time.
“I’ve made a lot of steps forward in the lost few years and I’m still making them. First I learnt how to win titles then I learnt how to defend them and the only success for me next week is keeping hold of my title.
“I’m looking forward to the tournament and there will be some interesting matches but I always know now that if I play my best game then I have a very big chance to win it.”
van Gerwen will begin his campaign on Saturday night with a clash against Adams.