MICHAEL VAN GERWEN is looking forward to getting back to business at the BetVictor Masters in Milton Keynes this weekend - live on ITV4.
In his first televised appearance since being crowned a three-time World Champion on New Year's Day, Van Gerwen is aiming for an incredible fifth successive BetVictor Masters title at The Marshall Arena.
The £200,000 curtain-raiser for the 2019 campaign will see 16 of the world's top stars battle it out over three days, with Van Gerwen playing in the final game of Friday night's opening session.
The world number one, who has enjoyed a stunning 16-game winning streak in the event since the move to Milton Keynes in 2015, will begin his quest for a fifth title against world number 16 Jonny Clayton, who recorded a sensational 5-4 win over Van Gerwen at the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts.
"I’m looking forward to getting back on stage as the World Champion," said Van Gerwen.
“It’s been a nice month to enjoy but now it is back to business and The Masters is the start of a new year for darts.
“I have done really well there in the last few years and I’m really confident and determined to win it again. It sends out a message that I’m ready from the very start of the year and that is important to me.
“I know not to take any opponent for granted and playing Jonny Clayton in the first round gives me lost of focus because we have had some great games.
"He’s done very well and deserves to be in the top 16 and a tournament like this you only have the very best players in the world so you can’t afford to make mistakes.”
Friday and Saturday's winners will progress to Sunday's decisive final day which will see the afternoon session's quarter-finals followed by the semi-finals and final in the evening session.
The BetVictor Masters will be broadcast live on ITV4 and worldwide through the PDC's broadcast partners, and through PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers.
A limited number of tickets for the BetVictor Masters are still available from SeeTickets.
2019 BetVictor Masters
(1) Michael van Gerwen v (16) Jonny Clayton
(8) Mensur Suljovic v (9) Simon Whitlock
(5) Daryl Gurney v (12) Dave Chisnall
(4) Stephen Bunting v (13) Darren Webster
(2) Rob Cross v (15) Joe Cullen
(7) Gerwyn Price v (10) James Wade
(6) Michael Smith v (11) Ian White
(3) Peter Wright v (14) Adrian Lewis
Schedule of Play
Friday February 1 (1900 GMT)
4x First Round
Daryl Gurney v Dave Chisnall
Mensur Suljovic v Simon Whitlock
Stephen Bunting v Darren Webster
Michael van Gerwen v Jonny Clayton
Saturday February 2 (1900 GMT)
4x First Round
Gerwyn Price v James Wade
Rob Cross v Joe Cullen
Michael Smith v Ian White
Peter Wright v Adrian Lewis
Sunday February 3
Afternoon Session (1300 GMT)
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
First Round - Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Finals - Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 21 legs
Final - Best of 21 legs
First Round Losers £5,000