Phil Taylor will begin the defence of his World Matchplay title tonight when he faces John Henderson at Winter Gardens live on Sky Sports.
'The Power' is looking to win his eighth successive Matchplay crown and his sixteenth in total at the competition in Blackpool as well as the £450,000 prize money on offer.
He beat Dutchman Michael van Gerwen 18-9 in last year's final, recording a three-dart average of 107.19. And this year Taylor believes the tournament will be harder to win than ever.
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"There are a few threats", he told Sky Sports."It's not about one player anymore. You've probably got about 15 or 16 who can win this tournament now"
"The standard of darts has improved 100 percent, but then again people have got the money now to be professional and stay home and concentrate to do their job properly."
Former two-time champion Rod Harrington echoed Taylor's comments.
"Every tournament we go to gets tougher and tougher and the players are not scared of Phil [Taylor] anymore, so he has to work harder and harder to make sure he doesn't miss too many chances.
"You look at how well Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson are playing, and Peter Wright at the moment is going to be an outsider and it's just whether he can get over the line to win a major title.
"There aren't any easy games and it's going to be the toughest tournament we've ever had."
Michael van Gerwen went into the tournament as the bookies' favourite and he progressed into the second round with a 10-4 victory over his Dutch compatriot Benito van de Pas to set up a meeting against Jamie Lewis.
Elsewhere, Simon Whitlock, Peter Wright and James Wade all progressed with wins over Jelle Klaasen, Kim Huybrechts and Kyle Anderson respectively whilst reigning world champion Gary Anderson defeated Steve Beaton and Adrian Lewis beat Joe Murnan.
There have already been some upsets as well; Mervyn King, Stephen Bunting and Terry Jenkins were all sent crashing out on day two.
In other first round action tonight are Dave Chisnall and Raymond van Barneveld who play Jamie Caven and Andy Hamilton whilst Robert Thornton gets the night underway against 22-year-old Keegan Brown.
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