herald

Friday 31 October 2014

Power writes off retirement

PHIL TAYLOR has no plans to retire from darts after beating Michael van Gerwen in dramatic fashion to clinch his 16th world title.

The 52-year-old recovered from 2-0 and 4-2 down against the Dutchman to claim the inaugural Sid Waddell trophy in the final of Ladbrokes World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

Taylor's high-quality 7-4 victory brought to a close a tournament that saw him both struggle with illness and become involved in ugly spat at the oche.

An ill-advised altercation with Raymond van Barneveld after their semi-final encounter was the trigger for the Stoke thrower to admit he was seriously considering his future in the sport.

But he has now revealed that rest rather than retirement was now his aim, and admitted his career could continue beyond the age of 55.

"I'm not going to walk away. I'm going to have a little break, obviously. I need a bit of a rest now," he said.

"I'm going to do a promotion in Dubai this month, so I'm going to take that as a holiday. I'm going to relax and get ready for the Premier League next.

"I've been written off more times than Rocky Balboa I think. I've had more comebacks than Sylvester Stallone anyway. I'm not going to give in -- I'm going to keep going and show them I'm still dedicated."

Taylor, who has frequently said he might retire at 55, admits the rush from his final comeback could sway him to change his mind: "That was my plan in life, even when I was working in a factory," he said. "I'm going to see how I feel over the next two or three years -- if I feel okay at 55 then I will carry on."

There was an emotional pull for Taylor, too, as his rally to beat 23-year-old Van Gerwen saw him become the first recipient of a new trophy named after late darts commentator Sid Waddell, a close personal friend of the world champion.

"It's extra special," Taylor added. "You mention Sid's name and everyone smiles. That's the memories of Sid.

"He was probably my best friend in darts, along with Eric Bristow. Sid was exceptional. I do miss him dearly."

Former world champion Bristow, who dominated darts in the 1980s, was there to witness the next stage of the Stoke man's development into the sport's greatest player. Having helped Taylor financially in the early stages of his career, Bristow predicted this victory will not be Taylor's last world title.



Dedicated

"He won't get to 20 but there most likely will be another one in him," said Bristow. "He is getting on a bit now. And Michael van Gerwen is going to win a few, he's a brilliant darts player. He's the best of the rest of the bunch.

"It was great for darts. I think we have seen the newcomer coming through, who's going to take over from Phil, but not yet."

Bristow puts Taylor's success down to intense practice. "He's just superb, he's very dedicated. He puts a lot of time into his sport. He plays four, five, six hours a day, even now, 30 years on.

Waddell, known as the voice of darts, died in August after a battle with cancer, and his name was chanted by the crowd during the final. "That was lovely," Bristow said. "Phil went out there to win the title. Obviously he wanted to win the first ever Sid Waddell trophy."

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