Van Gerwen expects to be crowned darts king months after being honoured by Dutch royalty
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN expects to be crowned the King of Darts – months after being honoured by the King of Holland.
In May, the two-time world darts champion was awarded the prestigious Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau medal.
Michael Van Gerwen expects to be crowned King of Darts just months after being honoured by the King of HollandLawrence Lustig
It was presented to Van Gerwen by his local Major on behalf of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands – and he is the youngest person to become a Dutch Knight.
Van Gerwen, 29, said: “It’s a nice thing to have this accolade. I’m a proud Dutchman and I’m honoured because it’s been a huge journey.
“It’s combined with the work I do for charity as well as my darts. I’m very privileged to have the knighthood now – I’m the youngest Dutch guy ever. In Holland, a Knighthood is somewhere inbetween the MBE and OBE in the UK.
“It’s good for darts in general and my team. I hope I can continue my success for the next 5-10 years.”
The two-time world darts champion was awarded the prestigious Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau medalGetty
van Gerwen poses with the Sid Waddell trophy after his victory in the PDC World Championship darts final last yearAFP
It has been an incredible journey for MVG, with two world titles on the mantelpiece before the age of 30.
Mighty Mike lost in a semi-final epic against rookie Rob Cross 12 months ago, a defeat he describes as a “disaster” having squandered five match darts to progress to a dream final against Phil Taylor.
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It’s fair to say the world no.1 has not been in such scintillating, dominant form leading up to this year’s event at Ally Pally.
He has only won three of the 10 TV PDC majors this year – compared to six in 2017, eight in 2016 and six in 2015.
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There are some who feel his tag of invincibility has gone completely, especially since he was shocked by Daryl Gurney in the final of the Players Championship in Minehead.
But Van Gerwen agrees completely with the bookmakers who, at 11-8, make him the leading contender to lift the Sid Waddell trophy on New Years’ Day.
Van Gerwen plays the winner of the first-round tie between Alan Tabern and Australian Raymond Smith tonight and he said: “Am I the man to beat? Of course. Otherwise they wouldn’t make me the favourite for the tournament – it’s as simple as that.
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“They know what I’m capable of and what I can do. They know what kind of danger I can be. People expect a lot from me. If you are the tallest tree, you catch most of the wind. There is less expectation on other players, so when they win a tournament, it’s said they are having a great year. I’ve still won twice as much as any other player this year.
“Of course, it hasn’t been all of the big ones, I didn’t win as many TV tournaments this year, but it’s still more than anyone else. What other people say is up to them. I know what I can do.
“It would be phenomenal for me to win a third world title. I’m trying to get prepared and I hope I don’t make any mistakes.”
Schedule of Play – Saturday December 15
Afternoon Session (12.30pm start)
Richard North v Robert Marijanovic (First round)
Mickey Mansell v Jim Long (First round)
Josh Payne v Jeff Smith (First round)
Max Hopp v Noppert/Lam (Second round)
Evening Session (7pm start)
Toni Alcinas v Craig Ross (First round)
Ryan Searle v Stephen Burton (First round)
Keegan Brown v Karel Sedlacek (First round)
Michael van Gerwen v Tabern/Ray Smith (Second round)
First Round – Best of five sets (no tie-break)
Second Round – Best of five sets