Gerwyn Price has revealed that he nearly pulled out of the World Darts Championship due to the likely hostility from the English crowd. Welshman Price is often jeered by fans inside Alexandra Palace and admits that he considered not turning up to the London event.
The 38-year-old said ahead of the tournament that the World Darts Championship should be taken around the world. He wants the sport to be taken around the world so that players do not play in front of a partisan crowd each year.
However, Price was surprised to receive a positive reception from the Ally Pally crowd during his 3-0 second-round victory over Connor Scutt. It prompted the revelation that the 2021 winner considered skipping the tournament the evening before it started.
“I started off really well, found a 180 [in the first leg] and sort of got the crowd on my side a little bit,” Price said. “My game was steady. It wasn’t my A-game – first-round jitters – but I am happy. I am thankful I got through.
“The crowd were brilliant. I was turning up to Ally Pally like it was last year and the crowd would be on my back but this year they were brilliant. I was a bit apprehensive – I didn’t know what would happen.
“I was sat in my house at six o’clock [on Sunday] and probably wasn’t going to play the tournament. I wasn’t even on my way to London.”
Price has suggested that the World Championship is hosted in different parts of the globe. Given the PDC has a long-term contract with Alexandra Palace, it seems an unlikely move in the near future.
“It may be the World Championship, but for me, it’s not the real thing when it’s behind closed doors. Not for me, it isn’t. Can I win it again? Sure… when it goes to Wales, Germany or wherever. That’s what happens with other sports – their World Cup or World Championship is played in different countries,” Price said last week.
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“I think it’s only right that the tournament should move to different parts of the world, and then I’ll have a better chance. Germany is becoming a huge market for the PDC and darts is growing massively all over Europe, so if they were to move it to Germany, Holland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales or Belgium I don’t see any reason why they can’t host it.
“I know darts has a lot of history invested in Ally Pally, but things change and you have to move on and move with the times. It used to be at the Circus Tavern, and with the way the game is going, and the strength in depth in all corners of the world, I think the tournament needs to have a new home now.
“Just change it up and make the game a bit fairer. The effect of a home crowd does help. I know it’s hard to get a level playing field, but it’s more even if you get equal opportunities.”
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