Making his first appearance in a Darts World Matchplay final, none will be more thrilled than Adrian Lewis at the prospect of facing Phil Taylor this weekend.
However, once the delirium of such a crowning moment in the 28-year-old’s career wears off, it can only be replaced by a deep-seated fear for who lines up against him.
Taylor, the 16-time world champion, six-time PDC Player of the Year, current world No. 1 and founding member of the Professional Darts Corporation, heads into the meeting as heavy, heavy favourite.
Of course Lewis has credentials of his own which, when you consider the player still has 25 years to catch up on Sunday’s opponent, are impressive to say the least.
“Jackpot” has already won two World Championships, this year’s European Championship and a plethora of runners-up, semi-final and quarter-final finishes to go along with them.
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In short, Lewis has every right to meet Taylor at the oche this weekend, especially when one considers that it’s “Mighty” Michael van Gerwen that the Englishman has just disposed of in what was a thrilling 17-15 clash.
This encounter of course has a particular spice to it. Lewis was once a protégé to Taylor, having learned particular parts of his career as a training partner with the seasoned veteran.
But such a time has long passed, and Lewis is a professional looking to etch out his own name in darts history.
In 2011, the Mirror’s Mike Walters quoted Lewis as saying that he was his own player now, looking to step away from the shadow that playing understudy to Taylor would inevitably create:
For years I've had to live with this thing about being his understudy, but since I beat him at the World Grand Prix three months ago I don't think he's played as well as he can.
I think that hurt him more than any defeat because he hadn't lost on TV for years. And that's when I started believing I was the best.
However, for all his belief, Adrian Lewis can’t help but fall this time around. As aforementioned, he knows that he’s capable of beating his former mentor, but Taylor will be all the more prepared this time around.
As the Northern Echo’s Scott Wilson recently stated on Twitter, nowhere else in sport is there as large a distance between the reigning power and the rest of the field as there is between Phil Taylor and the remainder of the darts community:
Absolute privilege to watch Phil Taylor in action - no sportsman in the world is further ahead of his rivals than he is.— Scott Wilson (@Scottwilsonecho) July 27, 2013
Even in his older years, “Power” continues to perform consistently at the top level, unrelenting, caring not for who his opponent might be.
However, against Lew, there’s a very good chance Taylor most certainly will care, and it only spells out more pain for the unseasoned Lewis.