Gerwyn Price has claimed "the only person I fear is myself" as he prepares to begin his World Grand Prix campaign on Monday night.
The Grand Slam champion has secured four ranking titles in 2019 – the latest of which came on Friday at Players Championship 27 in Dublin.
The seventh seed takes on former finalist Dave Chisnall in a mouthwatering first-round tussle, although the Welshman insists he fears nobody.
I used to fear a lot of players but now the only person I fear is myself, he told the Darts Show podcast.
The only person I fear now is myself and if I turn up I know I can win, so as long as I just concentrate and practice well and take my own game, I’m not worried about Dave. I’m not worried about anybody else, just myself.
Price has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals in his four previous Dublin appearances and the Welshman admits the unique aspect of the event is difficult to adjust to.
Obviously the Pro Tours are a good warm-up for you, but double-in and double-out is completely different, he said.
Over the last couple of months my doubling has probably gone a bit better, so as long as I get off the mark early.
I think the other year I played Michael Smith – one time I didn’t even get off 501. First or second dart hopefully you get off and then you’re into the match.
Price has always been a character that polarises opinion, but his stock has risen considerably over the last 18 months and deservedly so.
Since his Grand Slam success he has gone from strength-to-strength and if he continues in a similar vein, his second major title is surely on the horizon.
I feel confident so I’m going into every tournament thinking that I’m going to win. I think it’s tournaments like the Europeans and Pro Tours – they are the ones that are tough to win.
The Grand Slam is a good one to win and it’s a major in the bag for me, but I think the Europeans is where I learned the most things.
The Grand Prix is Price’s immediate focus, but the Welshman is also targeting a strong end to the season.
He has notoriously struggled to produce the goods at the World Championship, failing to reach the quarter-finals in five appearances.
The former rugby star is also one month away from beginning his Grand Slam of Darts title defence and he is targeting a place in the world’s top four ahead of the 2020 campaign.
The last couple of years I’ve started off well and then played rubbish at the end of the year, hopefully that’s a bit different this year, he said.
I can go deep in the majors and I’m not defending much from two years ago, so hopefully a couple of good runs and try and push myself up into the top four.
Another man full of confidence ahead of the PDC’s annual pilgrimage to Dublin is Rob Cross, who clinched his second major televised title in July’s World Matchplay.
Nevertheless, Ireland has not been a happy hunting ground for ‘Voltage’ in the last couple of years.
Cross has suffered back-to-back opening-round exits at the Citywest, both at the hands of Steve Beaton. He will be bidding to avoid an unwanted hat-trick when he takes on Mensur Suljovic on Monday evening.
Suljovic has featured in three Grand Prix semi-finals during the last four years and Cross knows he will have to be at his best to defeat the world No 9.
I’m confident and I think my draw is brilliant, Cross told the Darts Show podcast.
Mensur is playing amazing, but going into that game now there’s no messing around. I know I’ve got to get away and I know I’ve got to play well, otherwise I’ll be going home again for the third year in a row.
Obviously it’s not my favourite place with what has happened in the last two years, but at the same time things are different. I couldn’t get out of the second round at the Matchplay. I get out of the second round and go on and win it.
Who is to say if I beat Mensur on Monday that I go on and win it? I think a longer format would help me massively because I’ll relax a little bit more, you’ve got a bit more time but the job in hand is all on Monday really and that’s producing and doing what I need to do.
The double-start format is extremely unforgiving and Cross has altered his practice regime this year in a bid to familiarise himself with the tournament.
I turned up to the Pro Tours but my mind wasn’t really on the Pro Tours, it’s always been on the Grand Prix so you turn up to loosen the arm, he said.
I’ve hit my doubles alright this week and I’ve been practising hard at it and really it’s the first time I’ve ever done that. I’ve never normally practised for it.
I try not to worry myself and I keep telling myself that I’m going to walk it and hit doubles like the best in the world and score like the best in the world, but it’s never worked out that way.
This year I’ve had to give myself a week or two weeks and just play it consistently, just keep going in and out and hopefully it works. I’ll start on double 18. I’m going to stick with it.
Wayne Mardle recently highlighted the importance of establishing a clear plan of attack if you are unable to pin your preferred starting double and this is a theory that is reinforced by Cross.
I think last year I started on double 16 and I struggled to score, because obviously going 32 and then going back up to treble 20 is a hard switch, it kind of took the game away from me, he said.
This year I’ll start on 18s and go across to the treble 20, which is a lot smaller adjustment. I think as long as you’ve got something in your head and you stick to it, I’ll be absolutely fine.
Cross could not have asked for a tougher route to glory in Dublin. If he overcomes Suljovic he will face either Glen Durrant or Krzysztof Ratajski, with a potential quarter-final tie against Price in prospect. Nevertheless, the former world champion insists he is relishing the challenge.
I’m looking forward to it, he added. This has obviously not been my favourite venue over the last couple of years, having never made it past the first round. This year I’m nice and relaxed and I’m confident that I’m going to play well.
Gerwyn Price and Rob Cross are in World Grand Prix action on Monday evening at Dublin’s Citywest Arena and the live Sky Sports coverage continues until the final on Saturday, October 12.