Peter Wright was crowned world champion last year ©Getty Images

The World Darts Championship will begin tomorrow with Scotland’s Peter Wright seeking to defend his title at Alexandra Palace.

The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) event could be impacted by the absence of spectators, with tougher coronavirus restrictions coming into force in London on Wednesday (December 16).

Organisers had hoped to have fans present for the competition, which will take place until January 3.

Wright will be among the 96 players competing at the tournament, with a record 29 nations represented.

The tournament second seed will be in action tomorrow.

Wright will face the winner of the match between England’s Steve West and India’s Amit Gilitwala in the second round.

The Netherlands’ Michael van Gerwen remains the player to beat, with the three-time world champion the top seed.

Van Gerwen had been forced to settle for second place last year to Wright.

He awaits the winner of the match between Scotland’s Ryan Murray and the Philippines’ Lourence Ilagan in the second round.

The 32 seeded players receive a bye to round two.

Michael van Gerwen is the top seed for the tournament ©Getty Images
Michael van Gerwen is the top seed for the tournament ©Getty Images

"Of course, this year has not been an easy one for me, as it hasn't been for a lot of people," van Gerwen said.

"There have been some difficult moments both on and off the oche but it's about how you come through those moments.

"In the last few weeks I have been feeling good again and I can definitely feel the old Michael coming out on the dartboard.

"I have to thank my family, friends and management for helping me through this year, I couldn't have done it without their support.

"Now I'm feeling ready to go at the World Championship and the other players need to watch out."

Wales’ Gerwyn Price and England’s Michael Smith also feature among the top seeds for the tournament.

England's Adrian Lewis and Rob Cross, plus Scot Gary Anderson, complete the five ex-champions in the field.