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Michael Van Gerwen is relishing getting his 2019 season underway by targeting a fifth successive BetVictor Masters title in Milton Keynes.
Van Gerwen has enjoyed a break since being crowned World Champion for the third time at the start of the year but he will return to The Marshall Arena, a venue where he has won all 16 of his matches since 2015.
First up for Van Gerwan is a test against Jonny Clayton, who defeated the Dutchman at the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts, and the reigning champion is ready to get his campaign started.
"I’m looking forward to getting back on stage as the World Champion," said Van Gerwen.
“It’s been a nice month to enjoy but now it is back to business and The Masters is the start of a new year for darts.
“I have done really well there in the last few years and I’m really confident and determined to win it again. It sends out a message that I’m ready from the very start of the year and that is important to me.
“I know not to take any opponent for granted and playing Jonny Clayton in the first round gives me lots of focus because we have had some great games.
"He’s done very well and deserves to be in the top 16 and a tournament like this you only have the very best players in the world so you can’t afford to make mistakes.”
Former finalist Gary Anderson is out of the event due to a back injury with Stephen Bunting taking his place in the draw.
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