Jonny Clayton set for Winter Gardens debut at the World Matchplay

Jonny Clayton  (Picture: Michael Braunschadel/PDC Europe)
Jonny Clayton (Picture: Michael Braunschadel/PDC Europe)

Jonny Clayton can’t wait to sample the famous Winter Gardens atmosphere for the first time as he makes his BetVictor World Matchplay debut in Blackpool this Saturday.

The Welsh star has made huge strides over the last two years, culminating in the biggest win of his career in April as he claimed the Austrian Darts Open trophy.

Clayton’s triumph in Graz qualified him for a number of televised tournaments throughout the year and he is now determined to make his mark on TV.

He told www.pdc.tv: “I can’t wait to play on the Winter Gardens stage, I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time now,” said Clayton.

"Being a dart player, these are the tournaments you want to play in and slowly but surely I’m making my way into more and more of the big TV events.

“Everyone always says Blackpool has an amazing atmosphere and now I’ve got the chance to experience it for myself which really excites me.”

Clayton, who represented Wales at the World Cup of Darts last month, won his first PDC ranking title at Players Championship 22 in Barnsley last October, before coming runner-up at the Players Championship Finals a month later, and has also qualified for the World Grand Prix and European Championship later this year.

The Pontyberem ace is keen to use his recent success as a springboard to more titles and believes there is no limit to what he can achieve this year.

“I keep improving my game and taking steps toward the top end of the rankings,” Clayton added.

“I’m in my fourth year playing in the PDC now, and it’s been a real learning curve.

“I’ve learned so much from all the players and I feel confident that my approach to the TV tournaments will be spot on.”

“I’ve set myself a target of getting into the top 16, which I am a little bit closer to now but who knows how far I could go.”

The 43-year-old faces a tough assignment on the opening night of the tournament as he takes on Premier League Darts finalist Michael Smith.

“I’ve got total respect for Michael as a person and a dart player,” said Clayton.

“It will be a real challenge to beat him but it’s one I’m looking forward to massively.

“My preparation has gone very well, I’ve had my head down on the practice board for the last few weeks so hopefully my hard work will pay off.”

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