Phil Taylor eyes collectors item at Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters

The 16-time world champion's campaign for a ‘piece of art’ begins against Wright in the quarter-finals. Paul Radley reports.
Phil Taylor has been inspired to emulate tennis star Novak Djokovic’s work ethic. Francois Nel / Getty Images
Phil Taylor has been inspired to emulate tennis star Novak Djokovic’s work ethic. Francois Nel / Getty Images
DUBAI // Phil Taylor, the most decorated player in darts, said the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters trophy would be given pride of place in his home if he were to win it for the first time this weekend.

The world's eight leading players will compete for a silver coffee pot, similar to those given to the winners of the Dubai Desert Classic in golf, and the women's event at the tennis championships.

Taylor has won every major trinket there is to win, but he said he has few on display at home in England. That would change if he were to land the Dubai title.

“I would love to win this,” Taylor said yesterday.

“I don't have trophies in my house, to be honest, but this is one that I would keep. That is special.

“It is not like a normal trophy, it is a piece of art. It is beautiful. It is a tournament I have never won and I want to win everything before I retire.”

Taylor, 53, was a surprise early departure at the Dubai Masters last year as his young rival, Michael van Gerwen, won the first title here.

But the man considered the best darts player of all time is still the star attraction for the majority of fans who will be at the Dubai Tennis Stadium this evening.

He said he hopes to invoke the spirit of Novak Djokovic – or his work ethic, at least – when he competes at a venue where the Serbian tennis star has been a winner four times.

“It is difficult to keep top form,” the 16-time world champion said. “You have to do everything perfectly, be like Novak Djokovic and do everything properly.”

Taylor's Dubai campaign will start against rising star Peter Wright in the quarter-finals.

Wright, the world No 5, is sporting a luminous orange Mohican haircut, with glitter and multicoloured tufts at the sides.

He said he is not overawed by his opponent.

“Best player in the world? It doesn't matter, he is just another opponent I have to beat to go through in the tournament,” he said.

Raymond van Barneveld, the former world champion who won the Premier League final last week, is happy to be back at a competition where he made the final match last year.

“When you come to Dubai, everyone is jealous,” Van Barneveld said.

“In a business-class seat, with a top hotel, sponsors cars driving you everywhere you want to go. You feel like a pop star.

“I hope this competition lasts forever and that I can compete in it for the next 10 or 15 years.”

pradley@thenational.ae

Follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE

Published: May 28, 2014 04:00 AM

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