Joe Cullen believes he has 'unfinished business' at the World Matchplay ahead of his bid for a maiden televised title in Milton Keynes.
The 2018 World Matchplay was a memorable one for Cullen as victories over Gerwyn Price and Daryl Gurney took him to a quarter-final meeting with eventual champion Gary Anderson.
An epic contest saw Anderson prevail 19-17 after Cullen missed match darts, one of which was bizarrely hampered by a fly in his vision.
However, he was unable to replicate his good form in 2019 as he suffered a humiliating 10-0 defeat to Ian White, his first round opponent at this year’s event.
“I’m glad I’ve been given the chance to right the wrong of last year against Ian, obviously that game was a massive disappointment,” said world number 17 Cullen.
“After doing so well at the 2018 tournament, I had high hopes of going further in 2019 but it wasn’t to be. There's definitely unfinished business for me at the World Matchplay.
“Personally, I think I would've had a great chance of winning the title in 2018 had that winning double gone in against Gary. The way I was playing around that time, I really fancied my chances of going all the way.
“That was the first time when people saw what I can play like on TV, but for whatever reason I've not done it enough since.
“The European Championship in 2018 was even more disappointing, I threw away the semi-final and that was really tough to take.
“It took a while to mentally recover from that setback, but winning the European Tour event last year was big for me.
“On that day I knew nobody could beat me, that must be how Michael van Gerwen feels all the time!
“In the mental side of the game, the elite players are levels above the rest, and that's the sort of mindset I need to have more often.”
Having endured a difficult week at the Summer Series, Cullen insists he can bounce back at the World Matchplay.
The 31-year-old kept busy during lockdown, reaching the semi-finals of the Home Tour and running a 5k every day in May in preparation for his return to big-stage action.
“You can play as much online darts as you want but it's not the same as against a proper opponent, but my ProTour form has been very hit and miss this year,” Cullen admitted.
“Unfortunately that trend continued at the Summer Series, but I won't be too disheartened by it and I'm aiming to bounce back in a big way at the World Matchplay.
“Even though I was very disappointed with my performance at the Summer Series, I think it was of benefit to blow away the cobwebs before the World Matchplay.
“If I’m being honest, my year so far has been very average, if I want to push on to reach the world's top ten I can't be happy with mediocre performances.”
The Betfred World Matchplay will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, RTL7, DAZN and the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners.
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