Michael van Gerwen has warned his rivals he is capable of making further improvements after completing a glittering year by winning a second PDC World Championship.
The Dutchman ended a three-year wait for another world title, after first triumphing at Alexandra Palace in 2014, with a 7-3 victory over defending champion Gary Anderson on Sunday night.
But despite ending a staggering 12 months with a 26th trophy, world number one Van Gerwen has vowed to get even better.
“I think I can get more consistent than this,” Van Gerwen told PDC.tv.
“I can do this all the time, I know that, and I have to believe in myself and never give up.
“I hope I can continue this great form all through the new year. Winning trophies is something what I love, what I like, and what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Van Gerwen dominated the final, which included a match-record 42 180s, finishing with an average of 108.06 and completing five ton-plus finishes.
The 27-year-old’s World Championship win means he now holds every single major ranking title in professional darts. And Van Gerwen, like 16-time world champion Phil Taylor has done in the past, is hoping to continue his dominance for years to come. “Phil Taylor did it for 15 years so why could I not do it for four, five, six, seven, eight, 10 years? You never know,” added ‘Mighty Mike’.
“You have to believe in yourself. I know what I can do and I hope I can do this for the next few years. The best medicine if something does not go well… win tournaments.
“I showed everyone this year what I was capable of, what I can do, and I feel absolutely phenomenal.”
Two-time world champion Anderson played his part in the showpiece – his third in a row – only to come up short as Van Gerwen raced through the gears after the match was locked at two sets apiece.
The Scot hit 22 180s in the final to take his tally to 71 for the tournament – another record – but Van Gerwen’s brilliance denied him the chance to follow in Taylor’s footsteps and win three consecutive PDC world titles.
“It just shows where darts is going,” the 46-year-old Scot told PDC.tv. “With players like Michael van Gerwen, they are just going to get better and better. But there is not a lot you can do about it.
“All year he has done it, hats off to the kid. I said at the start ‘if anyone deserves it it has to be Michael’.
“It would be a bad year for him if, after the way he played, he would not have walked away with that trophy.
“It is getting harder every year. Phil is 56 and he is thinking about taking it easy.
“I’ve still got a few years left and hopefully we will be standing here having this chat next year. I would quite happily take runner-up next year.
“He’s took it off me so I will probably get a wee cheese-on now and think he’s not going to get it next year. Let’s see what happens.”
Van Gerwen and Anderson will soon lock horns again, during this year’s Premier League, which will also include Taylor, Scotland’s Peter Wright, Adrian Lewis, James Wade, Dave Chisnall, Jelle Klaasen, Raymond van Barneveld and Kim Huybrechts.