Price: World Championship 'completely different' to any other tournament
Price stormed to victory in the 2020/21 edition with a 7-3 success against his old adversary Gary Anderson, in a tournament played behind-closed-doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 38-year-old has since suffered consecutive quarter-final exits at Alexandra Palace, and admits that the World Championship is a different proposition to any other event on the darting calendar.
“It’s completely different to any other tournament. It’s the venue, it’s the atmosphere, the crowd, the format,” claimed Price, the number five seed this year.
“It’s the biggest tournament of the year. I’m sure even the likes of Luke [Humphries] would probably give up the three trophies he’s just won in place of this one.
“When I won the World Championship it was behind-closed-doors, but now I want to win it with my family and friends there. That is my motivation.
“Last time the trophy was just sat in my kitchen doing nothing, so it would be great to get my hands on it again and parade it around Wales!
“I am looking forward to it. This year the crowd has been awesome for me, so hopefully it continues at Ally Pally.”
Price has scooped six ranking titles in 2023, while also guiding Wales to a second World Cup of Darts crown alongside Jonny Clayton back in June.
However, the three-time Grand Slam champion is remarkably without a premier televised ranking title since November 2021 – the longest drought of any player in the world’s top seven.
“It has been a great year for me, even though I haven’t won a ranking major,” insisted Price, who believes he’s on the cusp of breaking that duck.
“I am playing really well. It takes someone to be close to their A-game to knock me out of a tournament, and that is what’s happened this year.
“I lost in the Premier League final, the World Grand Prix final, and I lost to Gary [Anderson] in the Grand Slam, who is playing some of the best darts he’s played in years.
“I’ve just got to stay positive and keep knocking on the door. Eventually one of them will open and there will be a nice trophy waiting for me.”
Price will be one of seven former champions in this year’s 96-player field, although he believes this year’s showpiece could be the most wide-open in the tournament’s 30-year history.
Reigning champion Michael Smith is one of a host of players to have won maiden televised events over the last 18 months, with Luke Humphries joining that club after lifting a hat-trick of premier TV titles in the space of 49 days.
Price highlights the sport’s growing strength in depth – combined with some indifferent displays from the world’s elite – as the main factor behind the surge of new televised winners.
“I think anybody could win it, so I wouldn’t write anyone off,” added the 2021 World Champion.
“Obviously there will be favourites, but there are so many players out there that can win on any given day.
“I think players that were lower down the rankings are improving, but I think some of the players at the top end aren’t playing very well, so the tournament is wide open.
“If you’re off your game, it doesn’t matter whether you’re playing Luke [Humphries], Michael [van Gerwen] or even a qualifier, you’re not going to win.
“I’m just hoping I can take my game up another level and lift this trophy again.”