"There are so many that are capable of winning" - Wayne Mardle hails the most open of World Darts Championships

On Monday night, the draw was made for the upcoming PDC World Darts Championship. Michael Smith starts the tournament as the defending champion after beating Michael van Gerwen 7-4 in the final last time around.

Despite this, Smith doesn't start the tournament as favourite, that role goes to Luke Humphries. The 28-year-old Englishman has won three majors in recent weeks and will appear in top form at Alexandra Palace.

"There are so many that are capable of winning," said Wayne Mardle, a four-time semifinalist at the PDC World Darts Championship to Sky Sports. "Joe Cullen, Nathan Aspinall, Dave Chisnall are all not on that short list of being a world champion. Then you've got Luke Littler, Luke Humphries, who can't do anything wrong."

"Having seen Littler win the World Youth crown, he's someone in the draw you don't want to mess with. He's unscarred. He can just go up there, turn you over and think, this is what I do."

The 32 seeds are given a bye in the first round, but that does nothing to take away the importance of the Alexandra Palace. "There are going to be players playing for their careers at this World Championship," he explains.

"There are also players who are only playing to get to the final and winning it, where nothing else will do. Once it starts getting underway it's going to unravel so it's a really exciting time."

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