Grand Slam of Darts: Gerwyn Price could keep a lid on his emotions as he aims to defend title

Gerwyn Price beat Gary Anderson in the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts final (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Gerwyn Price beat Gary Anderson in the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts final (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Gerwyn Price could well become a quieter figure on stage as he contemplates a change of style in a bid to land more televised titles in front of big crowds.

This weekend the Welshman returns to the scene of where his on-stage 'showmanship' reached new levels 12 months ago during his controversial Grand Slam of Darts final victory over Gary Anderson.

The biggest win of Price's blossoming career was soured somewhat when the Darts Regulation Authority slapped him with an unprecedented £21,500 fine that was later reduced by £10,000 on appeal while he's had to deal with the boo boys at virtually every venue he's played at since - some being significantly worse than others.

Despite his fired-up persona, Price has regularly spoken about his difficulty contending with the fans reaction during his matches and it doesn't seem as if his electrifying standard of darts this season has won many of the majority around as quickly as he'd like.

There is little doubt that the former rugby player has been one of the standout players on the PDC Tour in 2019 with four titles, including three in the quiet confines of the Players Championship events and another on the stage environment of the European Tour when he beat Rob Cross to defend his International Darts Open crown.

Although Price has been unsuccessful in his attempts to bag another TV title, he did reach the European Championship final as well as the semi-finals of the UK Open and Champions League - so is a change personality on the oche a wise move?

Ahead of his Grand Slam of Darts title defence at Wolverhampton's Aldersley Leisure Village, where he's in a group alongside Mikuru Suzuki, Dimitri van den Bergh and Robert Thornton, Price told The Darts Show Podcast: "I'm going to try to alter my game a bit, not for anybody else but for myself to make me play better. I've learnt to try not to react to the crowd but it can be hard work at times when you're trying to play within yourself.

"I'm doing really well on the floor events where you can't really show emotion and be loud, except maybe at the end of games, so I've been thinking that if I play like that I will probably be a better player on stage.

"I've only been in the game for a short period of time and I'm still trying to find a way to be the best player I can be."

Price also admitted his surprise to being rounded on for such a long period of time since the drama of last year's final.

He said: "I didn't think it would last the full 12 months - I thought It would be just a pantomime villain thing, a little bit of fun. I don't mind the boos during the game because you're in a scoring in a rhythm but when you're throwing for doubles at key stages that's when I think you need a little bit of respect.

"That's the problem, it's hard to keep calm at key stages like that and it's difficult to not let the crowd know when you've hit a shot. I just want to go up there, enjoy myself and have a fair crack, and if someone plays better than me then fair play to them."

Price sits fifth on the PDC Order of Merit, just five years after joining the PDC Tour in 2014, but he has his eyes on catching Michael van Gerwen.

To do that he must end his 19-match winless record against the world champion sooner than later although he couldn't have come much closer this season having lost five deciding legs against him in a row this year.

"Michael [van Gerwen] isn't the player he once was and he's there to be knocked off I think," said Price. "I now believe I can be world number one, whereas two years ago I would never have believed I could.

"I've reached the quarters, semis and finals of most events now so I think on merit I deserve to be considered a contender."

"I'm coming into the Grand Slam this year playing well and full of confidence, whereas last year I wasn't. Defending the title doesn't really bother me.

"I'm in a good place, probably not mentally, but I'm doing alright."

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