PHIL TAYLOR believes that the times is right for him to bow out of the sport, after his retirement following Monday's William Hill World Darts Championship final.
The legendary 16-time World Champion ended the sport's most decorated career at Alexandra Palace on Monday, although the 57-year-old was beaten 7-2 by brilliant emerging star Rob Cross.
What could have been the perfect swansong to his glittering career turned out to be a changing of the guard as the baton passed from Taylor to the former electrician now known as Voltage - who certainly provided some electric darts in the final.
However, after receiving a rapturous farewell from a capacity crowd at Alexandra Palace, Taylor reaffirmed that he believes his decision to retire has come at the right time.
"I had to enjoy it, it's my last one, I'm never going to do this again," he said. "The one thing I wanted to do was win a set, losing 7-0 would have crippled me.
"I tried my best, I really did, and I'm so pleased that that's it for me because I just haven't got the energy to beat him, or to beat the Michael van Gerwen's or Adrian Lewis' anymore.
"And I haven't got the interest to beat them any more - it's weird to say that because it's been my life for 30 years.
"It's been marvellous, I've had a fantastic career, but the youngsters coming through now are fantastic, they're young, fit and dedicated and I just can't compete with them anymore.
"I'd love to, but I just can't do it anymore."
Taylor averaged just over 102, hit 12 maximums, had a 151 checkout and missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish in the final, but that was good enough to take just ten legs from Cross, who was relentless from start to finish.
Cross coming from nowhere to beating the legend in the final is a similar story to Taylor's own explosion onto the scene when beating Eric Bristow in 1990 - and the retiring star sees a resemblance to a young version of himself in Cross.
"He was like me 25 years ago," added Taylor. "He was relentless, he just doesn't stop putting you under pressure, and that's the way I used to be.
"He's a lot like myself, trust me; he's dedicated, he's listened and he's learned and I think the players next year now have got a big problem.
"I think Michael van Gerwen, Barney, your top players have got somebody now who's dedicated and who wants to win.
"I don't think the money with him will make a scrap of difference, I think it's about winning and that's the way I was.
"So you've got a little animal on your hands now, I quite like him he's got a bit of grit in him."
Taylor says the overriding emotion for him on his retirement is more one of relief than sadness, and never thought he would even be able to make the World Championship final in his farewell event.
"I've been ready since last year - people said you'll have a tear in your eye but the only tears were of joy," said Taylor, who had announced his intention to retire in January 2017.
"I'm ready now to move on, I haven't got the energy levels to compete with these young players.
"The schedule [PDC Chairman] Barry [Hearn] has set out for them now is fantastic. He earns them an absolute fortune, he's a genius at what he does but I just can't do that anymore.
"For me to even get to the final was like winning a World Championship for me. Things just fell in place for me."
Taylor's career has been honoured with the renaming of the BetVictor World Matchplay trophy to the "Phil Taylor Trophy" from 2018 onwards - click here for further details.