Michael Van Gerwen is drawing on previous difficult times in his career as he looks to arrest his slump in form going into tonight's World Grand Prix opener against Krzysztof Ratajski.

Five-time champion Van Gerwen will begin his title defence against Polish number one Ratajski on the opening night of the prestigious double-start tournament - traditionally held in Dublin - which will take place across seven nights from October 6-12.

Priced by title sponsor BoyleSports as a 17/4 pre-tournament favourite to win a third successive World Grand Prix title, Van Gerwen comes into the tricky tie pressure to arrest a slump in form, having been knocked out in the last 16 of the past two televised knockout events and also failing to reach the Premier League Play-Offs for the first time in August.

"I'm confident. I'm coming off a difficult patch but it doesn't matter - I've been in this position before and I know how it is to battle back and battle back really hard, and that's what I want to do," Van Gerwen explained.

"I feel good. Of course it could be better, in the last few months I've had too many ups and downs and you need to get past that.

"Of course, to win it three times in a row would a lot to me. To do that you have to work hard and put a lot of effort into your game, and that's what I do.

"I think the World Grand Prix is a tournament that suits me, of course the first round is always dangerous, whoever you play, but I feel comfortable.

"The first round is tough for anyone. I can remember Phil Taylor lost to Adrian Gray in the tournament, I've lost before to a phenomenal John Henderson in the first round, so you need to be really sharp against whoever you play in the first round because it's the most tricky one and you need to get past that.

"With Krzysztof Ratajski to play against, it's not an easy one but I think it counts even more for him."

Van Gerwen's patchy form since the restart has led to suggestions he is missing playing in front of a crowd more than his rivals, but the Dutchman insists he isn't making any excuses.

He continued: "Of course it affects me. I'm a player who likes to perform in front of crowds, it gets me buzzing, gets me going, but everyone is in the same position and there's a little bit bigger problems in the world at the moment than no crowds at darts.

"Of course it's horrible for the fans, but this is the way it is at the moment and we all have to deal with it and you have adjust yourself.

"You have to make sure you don't make mistakes and keep preparing yourself for tournaments like this. Of course, I'm looking forward to it."

The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, as well as through the PDC's international broadcast partners including RTL7 and DAZN and for PDCTV Rest of the World Subscribers.

2020 BoyleSports World Grand Prix
Schedule of Play
Tuesday October 6 (1800 BST)
8x First Round

Adrian Lewis v Chris Dobey
Danny Noppert v Ryan Searle
Mensur Suljovic v Dirk van Duijvenbode
Jose De Sousa v Devon Petersen
James Wade v Mervyn King
Rob Cross v Gary Anderson
Michael van Gerwen v Krzysztof Ratajski
Michael Smith v Dimitri Van den Bergh