MICHAEL VAN GERWEN believes his ability to handle pressure was the key to winning the 2018/19 William Hill World Darts Championship.

World number one Van Gerwen etched his name in darts history as he became just the second player after Phil Taylor to win the PDC World Championship for a third time with a 7-3 triumph over Michael Smith.

En route to the title, Van Gerwen dispatched of long-time rivals Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis in convincing fashion and the Dutchman now feels he has settled the debate of who is the best player in the world.

"I think I handle pressure better than any other player in the world, and that's what makes me the best player," said Van Gerwen, who extended his run of ton-plus averages on the Alexandra Palace stage to a stunning 19 matches.

"Everyone knows I've had some difficult times this year, but this is the one everyone wants to win and I played my best game here which says a lot.

"Winning this title feels totally different to the other two, probably because there was more pressure on me to win this one

"The way I played over the last two months was not perfect, I had some bad results so going home with this title means everything to me.

"I think this title answers the question of who the best player in the world is."

Michael van Gerwen (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)

Van Gerwen will now look ahead to the 2019 Unibet Premier League where he will be bidding for a fourth successive crown, after being included in the ten-player field.

The 29-year-old now has an incredible 116 PDC titles to his name, and is looking forward to a break ahead of the 2019 campaign which begins with The Masters in Milton Keynes on Friday February 1.

"I work so hard all year but taking this trophy back home makes it all worthwhile," Van Gerwen added.

"I'm going to enjoy my homecoming to the Netherlands and then go on holiday with my family.

"It's important to spend time with them now because they have also made sacrifices to make this win possible.

"This year I want to win the Premier League again. It is the ultimate test of a player because you have to perform to your best level week in, week out.

"For the last five years I came top of the table and showed I am the best player in the world and I'm looking forward to proving it again."

Tickets for the 2019 Unibet Premier League are now on GENERAL SALE.