MICHAEL VAN GERWEN believes he must improve his finishing if he is to lift a third William Hill World Darts Championship title in the 2018/2019 event.

Van Gerwen has claimed an impressive 19 PDC titles in 2018, but has relinquished his position as reigning champion in six televised events including the Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals.

The two-time World Champion last tasted victory at Alexandra Palace in 2017, but is determined to banish the painful memory of his last-gasp defeat to Rob Cross in last year's semi-final.

Michael van Gerwen (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)

"I've been a little bit unlucky lately but I have to finish better and I'm working on that," said Van Gerwen, who will face Alan Tabern or Australia's Raymond Smith in the second round.

"I've not had my best year but I've still won more titles than every other player. I've not been at my best when you compare to some of the other recent years, and people expect a lot from me.

"I've got high standards and I want to play well in every match. You can still win without averaging 100 but you have to play well now for a full tournament.

"Last year I had a great tournament until that moment. Rob played well last year but I can only blame myself, t
hings like that happen and normally I would never miss five match darts.

"I know how it feels to lose and it's not nice. It hurts at that moment because you want to win it so much and hopefully this is my time."

Michael van Gerwen (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)

Since reaching his first World Championship final in 2013, a tournament which famously saw him throw 17 perfect darts over two legs, Van Gerwen has only failed to reach the semi-finals on one occasion.

The world number one has been the top performer on the PDC circuit over the last five years and hopes he will make his dominance count in the biggest event of the year.

"It feels amazing to win the World Championship title, you work so hard for it all year and it's a phenomenal moment of completion," Van Gerwen added.

"I've won two but I want to win more and to do that I have to make sure that I'm ready. I know I'll be a big favourite and there will be pressure on me, so I have to perform.

"People always play better against me than other players, maybe because there's no pressure on them so I have to play well and make sure I prepare well.

"I've got a very hard draw because there are a lot of good players in my half of the draw, but that's what I like because if you want to win the World Championship then you have to beat all the players anyway.

"It's always a special feeling going to Alexandra Palace, the fans play a huge part in that but I'm there to do a job, and that's winning my matches."

Michael van Gerwen with Dutch Honour (PDC)

Earlier this year, Van Gerwen was presented with the Dutch equivalent of an MBE.

The 29-year-old became the youngest person to receive the prestigious Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau medal by the Mayor, on behalf of the King.

"It is a big thing. I'm the youngest person to win it and it's nice that I can do that for the country," Van Gerwen added.

"I'm a proud Dutchman and I'm honoured because it's been a huge journey so far. It's strange to think when you're young how much you can do for the sport and for charities. It's a huge privilege to be Knighted."

The William Hill World Darts Championship will be broadcast through the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel, which will also feature exclusive documentaries and classic footage alongside the Ultra HD coverage of the tournament.

A limited number of tickets remain available for sale through pdc.seetickets.com
Click here for full ticket and hospitality information.