Michael Van Gerwen is ready to carry on breaking the pain barrier in his pursuit of back-to-back World Matchplay titles.

The Dutchman has recently had intensive dental surgery, with more to come, but that has not affected him too much as he won the Poland Masters at the weekend.

He heads to the Winter Gardens in Blackpool aiming to follow up last year’s success and will again give it his all.

“It has been a really tough period, but the most important thing is you have to stand up and you have to battle,” said Van Gerwen ahead of his first-round match with Brendan Dolan on Sunday.

“It costs a lot of energy, but I always say if I am competing in something, I want to win it, and this tournament will be no different.

“I’m looking forward to the World Matchplay already. It’s one of the biggest tournaments we have, I want to play well and I want to defend my title.

“I always have pressure on my shoulders but I don’t mind that. I’m winning tournaments again and that gives you confidence.”

The tournament on the west coast is widely recognised as the second biggest event on the calendar behind the World Championships, which means that world number one Michael Smith is keen to add this title to his collection.

Smith, who plays Steve Beaton, won at Alexandra Palace in January and now wants to taste success at another famous venue.

Michael Smith wants to add the World Matchplay title to the World Championship crown he won in JanuaryMichael Smith wants to add the World Matchplay title to the World Championship crown he won in January (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“It’s an iconic venue. The crowd are right on top of you. It’s special for us as players,” the 2019 runner-up said.

“I’m feeling confident. I’m feeling good. I’ve had a few disappointments in this tournament, especially losing the final to Rob (Cross).

“This year feels different though. I’m going in as the world number one, and I’ve got to prove why I’m in that position.

“I’m feeling comfortable and I’ve got to continue that winning run this year, hopefully starting with the World Matchplay.”