Peter Wright admits he has found 2022 a struggle at times but is now feeling refreshed ahead of his Betfred World Matchplay title defence.
The colourful Scot will return to the Winter Gardens looking to recapture the incredible form which saw him blow away the field to lift the Phil Taylor Trophy 12 months ago.
By his high standards, Wright feels he has under-performed since lifting his second World Championship title at the start of January.
The 52-year-old has endured an unfamiliar barren spell, not picking up a title since February, but after a week-and-a-half break he is hoping to end his drought in Blackpool.
“I’ve been rubbish this year!" laughed Wright, who will take on Latvian debutant Madars Razma in his opener.
“I started off alright, but I’ve found it really hard work getting used to a busy schedule again. The new Premier League format was more demanding than usual, so I needed a break.
“You either do them all and tire yourself out or you pick and choose which events you play; I’ll be doing the latter from now on.
“Nine times out of ten I do well at the World Matchplay so hopefully I can win it again and move clear of the chasing pack in the rankings.
“After my break my head is right again now and that’s been reflected in my high averages; its coming back, I’m ready to defend my title.
“That's what I did last year [had a break] and that worked so I’m near enough there, but you always need a little bit of luck.”
Wright is looking to follow in the footsteps of Taylor, Rod Harrington and Michael van Gerwen in becoming just the fourth player to defend the World Matchplay title.
“Plenty of players have tried it in the past [to defend the World Matchplay] and loads of them have failed,” said Wright.
“It’s going to be tough because of the standard of the field.
“There are some really good players in form; all 16 of the ProTour qualifiers could easily go and win it."
Listen to the full exclusive interview with Peter in the latest edition of The Darts Show Podcast - available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts - or read in the official 2022 Betfred World Matchplay programme.