Gary Anderson insists he would never deliberately slow down a match in an attempt to beat one of his rivals – even if using those tactics brought him a third PDC World Darts Championship crown.
Anderson was visibly annoyed after edging out Mensur Suljovic earlier this week, frustrated by the Austrian’s slow pace, and once he beat Devon Petersen to reach the quarter-finals, the Scot directed his ire towards Wayne Mardle.
The commentator and former professional was labelled “a numpty” after suggesting Suljovic’s methods could be copied by others hoping to oust the 2015 and 2016 champion.
But ahead of his meeting against Dutch outsider Dirk van Duijvenbode on New Year’s Day, Anderson, the 13th seed, said in a press conference: “It’s a game of darts. It’s not about how to put somebody off before you actually go up there to play them.
“If I ever thought for one second ‘slow the game down by five seconds and you’ll win the World Championships’, would I do it? No I wouldn’t.
“I’ll play darts how darts is supposed to be played. If nobody likes it (then they can), do one.
“I’m here to play darts which I’ve done over the last 20 to 25 years. If I can’t beat them with my darts (then I say) ‘well done lad, all the best in the tournament’.”
Van Duijvenbode has already knocked out 2018 winner Rob Cross and three-time BDO champion Glen Durrant, while the world number 43 defeated Anderson en route to the final of the World Grand Prix in October.
He had to come from 3-1 down to beat Durrant in a dramatic final set on Wednesday and said afterwards: “I would have been devastated to have lost but I had to make sure I didn’t get too frustrated. I dug deep and I won.
“I’m really happy to be through.”
World number one Michael van Gerwen, fresh from defeating Joe Cullen in a last-leg thriller earlier this week, and third seed Gerwyn Price are also in action on Friday.
Van Gerwen will be hoping to reach at least the semi-finals for the fifth year in a row and standing in his way is eighth seed Dave Chisnall, who has never before reached the last four of the competition.
Price takes on 11th seed Daryl Gurney while starting the day is a clash between Stephen Bunting and Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski, who eliminated defending champion Peter Wright’s conqueror Gabriel Clemens last time out.