The double-start World Grand Prix runs from October 3-9 in Leicester and we bring you a player-by-player guide to the field including their key season stats and tournament record.
The unique format of the World Grand Prix - where each leg must be started and finished on a double - makes this tournament somewhat of a 'lottery' in the early stages and also makes traditional performance statistics seem a little less reliable than ahead of other majors.
However, the cream does tend to rise to the top and those who excel must be at the top of their scoring and finishing games as well as having extreme mental toughness. This player-by-player guide details each contender's statistical seasonal form (courtesy of @CarlyFletch at @Darts_Tracker), their World Grand Prix track record and last year's 'double in' stats.
You can also click here to read Chris Hammer's outright betting preview ahead of the event.
Reigning champion Gerwyn Price used to say he didn't like double-start darts but last year he was almost unplayable and was only tested by Dave Chisnall, who missed three match darts in a classic semi-final that went the distance.
He heads into this title defence in sensational form having lifted his fourth title of the season at the Gibraltar Darts Trophy.
On the final day he averaged over 100 in defeating Damon Heta (102), Michael van Gerwen (103) and Nathan Aspinall (101) before demolishing Mensur Suljovic 8-0 (105) to take the trophy so he couldn't have sent out a more ominous warning.
That said, the world champion does have a very tough opening match against Michael Smith so will need to hit the ground running.
Apart from his maiden run to the World Grand Prix final of 2018, when he was brushed aside by Michael van Gerwen, Snakebite doesn't have a good record in this format at all.
Last year's 2-0 humbling at the hands of Ryan Joyce with an 82 average was the fifth time he'd bowed out in the opening round in his nine appearances but there's no doubt he has the game and mental strength to thrive if he gets into the longer format rounds.
Wright was simply sensational at this year's World Matchplay - just one of six titles he's hoovered up this year - and he'd dearly love to add another trophy he's not yet won to the mantlepiece of his mansion.
Undoubtedly an event that plays into Michael van Gerwen's usual strengths and it could be the one which opens his major account for 2021 having restored a lot of lost confidence at the televised Nordic Darts Masters recently. Even against Price in Gibraltar he averaged 105 so he is heading in the right direction ahead of the business end to the season.
Van Gerwen was playing exceptionally well at last year's edition when averaging in the high 90s against both Krzysztof Ratajski and Devon Petersen but despite doing the same against Simon Whitlock, he was blown away by the Aussie's breathtaking 100.39 in a 3-0 quarter-final defeat. It might take a performance like that to stop him this time as he attempts to claim the World Grand Prix crown for a sixth time and first since 2019.
The fact James Wade won this event for the first time in 2007 and enters this edition 14 years on ranked four in the world at the age of just 38 emphasises the longevity of his brilliance.
However, he's only managed one match win across his last six World Grand Prix appearances since he reached the final in 2014 and only averaged 79 in his first-round exit to Mervyn King last year despite doubling-in at an impressive 40%.
The Machine is among the outsiders at 25/1 but has already picked up one major this season against the odds when triumphing at the UK Open. Never write him off.
Dimitri Van den Bergh hasn't had much exposure to this double start format but last year he impressively averaged 96.40 in a 2-0 win over Michael Smith before a mark of 93.35 was defied by eventual runner-up Dirk van Duijvenbode.
The 2020 World Matchplay champion's continued rise up the ranks resulted in a highly creditable Premier League debut as well as a run to the Blackpool final, where he came up short to an exquisite Peter Wright.
His recent defeat to Fallon Sherrock from a position of 8-2 up was almost unfathomable and if he's got that shock out of his system, many will expect him to go far.
The World Grand Prix is one of the few majors not on Gary Anderson's CV and he looked on course to put that record straight last year until he was stunned by debutant Dirk van Duijvenbode in the quarter-finals when the draw had really opened up for him.
It was the sixth time in 11 attempts that the 2010 runner-up had reached this stage or better while he's only suffered two first-round exits. However, he's not the force he was and while many will fancy his chances to reach the last eight once again, he's in the same quarter as Michael van Gerwen.
Jose de Sousa endured a miserable World Grand Prix debut 12 months ago when crashing out against Devon Petersen 2-0 so he'll be hopeful of getting some winning experience under his belt when he faces a troubled Glen Durrant.
The Special One's phenomenal early season form may well have dropped over the summer months but his scoring power makes him a highly dangerous presence in the bottom half of the draw and at least he can't miscount on the starting doubles.
Two of Dave Chisnall's five major final defeats have come in the World Grand Prix and he lost them both to the greatest players of all time - Phil Taylor in 2013 and Michael van Gerwen in 2019.
Chizzy was on the brink of reaching a third final this time last year but he agonisingly missed three match darts in the deciding leg of a pulsating clash with Gerwyn Price and he'd no doubt have been favourite to beat Dirk van Duijvenbode and end that major drought.
He's not had the best of seasons but if any event can bring the best out of the St Helens man, it's this one.
Michael Smith has a torrid record in this event having never got past round two in eight previous attempts while he's crashed out at the first hurdle six times.
Sod's law he upsets defending champion Gerwyn Price this year, right?
The Asp reached the quarter-finals on his debut during what was a superb 2019 season but crashed out in round one 12 months ago.
His form in 2021 has been patchy but a run to the World Matchplay quarter-finals boosted his confidence and at this weekend's European Tour event in Gibraltar, he produced some stunning darts en route to the last four, where he lost to Gerwyn Price.
This major does of course require more mental strength and character that most, so if a gutsy Aspinall gets going, he'll fancy his chance of a fine run.
Few players have experienced such highs and lows in terms of form over such a short space of time as Rob Cross but he heads to Leicester without a title of any kind since the 2019 World Matchplay.
There were a handful of encouraging moments earlier in the season but his massive odds of 66/1 despite being ranked 11 in the world emphasises his overall struggles, while he's lost four of his five double-start matches since his debut in 2017.
Yet to win a double-start match in two previous attempts, Krzysztof Ratajski has a lot to prove in Leicester but he looked dangerous at the World Matchplay and boasts one of the highest averages on the circuit this season.
Hard to see him going all the way when he's not yet got his head around this format but far stranger things have happened in this forever surprising world of darts.
Joe Cullen's World Grand Prix record looked pretty grim until last year's run to the quarter-final and he could have gone further still had he not lost a deciding leg to Dave Chisnall.
The Rockstar was enjoying a superb 2021 with a pair of Players Championship titles against Jonny Clayton and fellow Welshman Gerwyn Price in February and June respectively but his form has tailed off since then.
He did average 104 during his defeat to Nathan Aspinall on the stage in Gibraltar last weekend so that could be a positive sign that he's back on an upward curve.
Jonny Clayton is yet to go on a lengthy World Grand Prix run but this will be his first crack since transforming into a multiple major winning star.
The Premier League and Masters champion has won four titles overall this season - a tally only bettered by Peter Wright with six - while his seasonal average of 98.68 puts him fourth behind Gerwyn Price, Michael van Gerwen and Jose de Sousa.
He lost the most recent Players Championship final against Snakebite 8-7 back in August so he could so easily tied up their title count at five apiece.
The World Grand Prix was one of the three semi-finals Glen Durrant reached during his sparkling debut season in 2019 while last year's first-round exit was quickly forgotten when he became Premier League champion a week later.
Since then, however, Duzza's career has sadly nosedived. In 2021 he's managed just a handful of wins in all competitions and his average of 86.20 is among the lowest on the circuit.
Stephen Bunting's best World Grand Prix campaign was his very first in 2014 when he reached the semi-finals but he's only managed two wins here in his last five appearances.
The St Helens man, who kick-started his career with a run to the last four of the World Championship last December, ended a five-year wait for a PDC title back in July so there is cause for optimism ahead of the crucial winter months.
Daryl Gurney has the fondest memories of this tournament having won his maiden major in 2017 while he reached the semi-finals 12 months later.
However, two first-round defeats in the last two years haven't helped SuperChin's gradual slide down the rankings and he's not exactly shown much sign of resurgence in recent months.
At 50/1, Ian White is a bigger price than he usually is to end his major duck having endured a below-par season on both the floor and stage.
Of his 10 televised quarter-finals - of which he's lost nine - two have come in the World Grand Prix (2015 & 2019) but last year's first round exit at the hands of Jonny Clayton was the fifth time he'd lost at that stage in nine double-start appearances.
This is Mervyn King's 15th successive World Grand Prix which is an astonishing achievement considering how hard it is to qualify for year in year out.
The 55-year-old, who suffered a dramatic and painful 6-4 defeat in the 2012 final to Michael van Gerwen, will never give up his quest to win a maiden major title and he may view this tournament as one of his better chances.
He has decent pedigree and a wealth of experience while his average of 95.43 this season keeps him around the top 20 statistically.
Dirk van Duijvenbode proved you don't necessarily need much double-start experience to thrive in this tournament as he sensationally reached the final on debut.
Not taking anything away from his achievement, but it's forgotten how he averaged just 73 in a woefully scrappy first-round clash with Mensur Suljovic prior to his admirable victories against Dimitri Van den Bergh, Gary Anderson and Simon Whitlock, so it's fair to say he made the most of his early luck in this format.
The rate of Dutchman's 180 hitting has been second to none this season but he's currently on a miserable run of form of six straight first-round defeats.
Danny Noppert's record in his major is similar to his fortunes in the others - pretty poor.
He's been averaging very well this season but ultimately can't keep his form going in the latter stages of tournaments and lacks the stage presence of his rivals.
Gabriel Clemens marked his World Grand Prix debut with a surprising 2-0 victory over Nathan Aspinall but he was whitewashed by Jeffrey de Zwaan in the very next round.
The German Giant, who stunned Peter Wright at the World Championship, has demonstrated plenty of potential on the circuit over the past couple of seasons but it's yet to translate into titles while his stats have dropped in 2021 so it's hard to see him mount a serious challenge this week.
Can probably be regarded as the best player on the circuit yet to win a senior PDC title but he has come close this year having reached four finals.
One of those came in the UK Open when he dismantled MVG with a breathtaking display in the semis only to lose out to James Wade, while his three final defeats on the ProTour came against Gerwyn Price, Jose de Sousa and Peter Wright, who averaged 102, 114 and 109 respectively!
His time will come soon and it'll be fascinating to see how he handles the double-start format.
The History Maker was of course the first player to hit a nine-dart finish in this event en route to the 2011 final while his semi-final run 12 months later established him as one of the most dangerous double-starters around.
That reputation was short-lived as he managed just one victory in the next four appearances prior to a three-year absence while he also crashed out in the first round 12 months ago.
However, he's been playing some of the best darts of his career this year and not only did he win a Players Championship title back in July but his seasonal average of 95.92 ranks him 15th statistically. He could be very dangerous.
Mensur Suljvoic has yet to have a mediocre World Grand Prix in his six appearances - he's either gone as far as the semi-finals or crashes out at the first hurdle.
Two of his three early exits came in 2019 and 2020 so he's perhaps due a good run having shown a recent return to form after an injury-hit year.
He was brilliant during Austria's run to the World Cup final while he defeated Jose de Sousa, Krzysztof Ratajski and Simon Whitlock en route to finishing runner-up at the Gibraltar Darts Trophy. We can gloss over the scoreline of the final.
Vincent van der Voort returns to the World Grand Prix for just the second time in the last six years thanks to a steady if not spectacular year.
His record in this major won't strike fear into any opponent having only got beyond the first round twice while his run to the 2015 quarter-finals came a year after he last won a tournament of any kind.
Ryan Searle's debut ended in a scrappy first-round defeat to Danny Noppert last year and he'll be favourite to suffer the same fate again when he faces Dimitri Van den Bergh.
Searle has enjoyed a superb season having won his second PDC title as recently as August when beating Peter Wright in a Players Championship final, while statistically he's among the top 20 in the season.
World Grand Prix debutant Damon Heta has been drawn to face one of the tournament's most experienced players in James Wade but many will fancy him to pull off a very minor upset.
The Australian has twice threatened a third PDC title of his career this season having been denied by Jonny Clayton and Gerwyn Price in Players Championship finals, with the latter coming as recently as August.
His average of almost 96 ranks him around the top 15 but a lot will obviously depend on how he copes with the format.
Ross Smith bagged his maiden PDC title back in August and it could have been his second of the season had he not finished runner-up to Michael Smith in April.
A dangerous player on the floor but has yet to take the stage by storm apart from a UK Open quarter-final run back in 2019.
Callan Rydz is making his debut but having grown up in the North East where double-start darts is played more frequently than many regions, he's certainly no stranger to this format.
The rising star of the game reached the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay this summer before running out of steam against Krzysztof Ratajski while last weekend he stunned Peter Wright at the Gibraltar Darts Trophy with a ridiculous 110 average and 100% on his doubles.
They could meet in the quarter-finals this week.
Darius Labanauskas just about clung onto the last qualification spot for the World Grand Prix but there's not much evidence to suggest he'll get too far in a quarter including Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson.
Even his opening match against Brendan Dolan should prove too tough, especially with his lack of double-start experience.
It's a tremendous achievement for Martijn Kleermaker to have qualified in his second season as a PDC Tour Card holder but he does head to Leicester as the lowest ranked player in the field.
This is just his fifth major appearance in the PDC and will also be his first taste of playing on a televised stage since moving from the BDO so it will be a new experience in more ways than one.
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