Darts great Phil '˜The Power' Taylor reaches for off switch

Phil Taylor is adamant now is the right time to retire from darts as he bids to end his '¨glittering career with a 17th world title.

Phil Taylor celebrates yet another victory in a career that has seen him amass £7m in prize money. Picture: Steven Paston/PA Wire

Last January the 57-year-old announced that the PDC World Championship at Alexandra Palace, which kicks off tonight, would be his final competitive appearance.

Taylor is regarded as the greatest darts player of all time, earning over £7million in prize money and winning more than 200 career titles.

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But “The Power”, who faces fellow Englishman Chris Dobey in the first round on tomorrow night, insists he has made the correct decision to finally hang up his arrows.

“It’s the perfect time for me to go, absolutely perfect,” he told Sky Sports.

“I’m not enjoying it anymore. There’s a lot of pressure on me and a lot of the people that I’m working with now are young people. They’re talking about things I don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s all changed.

“I’ve been playing it over 30 years – that’s more than half my life. To get ready for tournaments and do it properly you have to be very, very dedicated, and I’m not prepared to do that no more. I live a very simple life. I will miss it, of course I will. But at the minute I’m not thinking about it because I’ll go all teary.”

Although world No 1 Michael van Gerwen is the overwhelming favourite to retain his world title, Taylor is aiming to bow out on the highest of highs.

He showed he is more than capable of still mixing it with the big boys in Blackpool earlier this year, rolling back the years to beat Gerwyn Price, Raymond van Barneveld, Van Gerwen, Adrian Lewis and Peter Wright en route to a 16th World Matchplay title. But Van Gerwen believes he still has the beating of the 16-time world champion.

“I think I am better,” the Dutchman told PDC.tv.

“I am not the most successful, no, that is true. But I honestly think if Phil Taylor is on his top form and I am, I will beat him. But then everything needs to be right as well.

“He deserves every respect he is given. It is the perfect rivalry. He is the most enjoyable to beat because he is the greatest of all time.”

Van Gerwen, a two-time world champion, starts his defence against compatriot Christian Kist on the opening night.

The World Championship could be without second seed and 2014 finalist Wright as he was rushed to hospital with suspected gallstones earlier this month.

Third seed Gary Anderson, beaten by Van Gerwen in last year’s final, will also be a major contender and his quest for a third title begins against Jeff Smith or Luke Humphries on Saturday evening.

Daryl Gurney, Rob Cross and Mensur Suljovic have all challenged the elite this year and are outsiders to claim a maiden world title.