ADRIAN LEWIS is aiming to make a strong start to the Betway Premier League against Raymond van Barneveld on Thursday as he bids to enjoy a successful 2017.
The two-time World Champion began the year with a run to the semi-finals of the Unibet Masters last weekend, defeating Kim Huybrechts and Robert Thornton in Milton Keynes before losing out to Michael van Gerwen.
Lewis faces another Dutchman, Raymond van Barneveld, when the Premier League begins at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, and is eager to make a strong start to the season.
"I love playing Barney and we've had some crackers over the years so I'm looking forward to it," said the 32-year-old.
"I've got Barney in the first game and then you know you're coming up against another top player the next week, and the week after that.
"You've put yourself in that position to be shot at, you're in the top eight in the world.
"I think I'm going to have a good year this year. I think my mind's a lot stronger than it was, I had a lot going on last year and my mind wasn't 100 percent on darts.
"I've learned a lot from watching the top players do what they do. It's a massive year for me. I'm defending a lot of money on the Order of Merit at the end of the year but I can make amends early in the year I think.
"I've got to take the rough with the smooth and enjoy it, instead of thinking about the negatives I'm looking at the positives and I think that will be the turning point."
Lewis become one of an elite group of players to achieve a nine-darter in the Premier League last season during a win over James Wade in Belfast, and feels that another perfect leg could be achieved in 2017.
"The nine-darter was special and they always are," added Lewis. "I think I can hit another one and it would be fantastic to do it again."
Despite his defeat to van Gerwen in Milton Keynes, Lewis is aiming to show his class against both the World Champion and world number two Gary Anderson this year.
"Michael and Gary have been the best two players in the last two years, without a shadow of a doubt, but I can match them with my ability," said Lewis.
"Mentally I think I'm probably about 80 percent, but my aim is to be 100 percent at the end of the year.
"I know I can beat Michael, but when you give him that freedom he turns up and it's the same for me when I've got that freedom and no worries."
The Betway Premier League will run from February 2-May 18 on 16 successive Thursday nights in arenas across the UK, Ireland and Netherlands, and is broadcast live on Sky Sports.