Michael Van Gerwen to use Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters as launchpad for comeback

World champion determined to recover from slump in tournament that starts on Thursday. Paul Radley reports.
Michael van Gerwen is not fussed by his poor form. Francois Nel / Getty Images
Michael van Gerwen is not fussed by his poor form. Francois Nel / Getty Images

DUBAI // Michael van Gerwen, the world No 1, said yesterday that his recent defeat in the Premier League Darts final has provided him with extra motivation to defend his Dubai title this weekend.

The current world champion had a surprise loss to his Dutch compatriot Raymond van Barneveld in the London final last week.

It was a rare glitch in what has otherwise been an inexorable ascent in the sport for Van Gerwen, 25, but he thinks it could serve him well in the UAE this weekend.

“You cannot win all the time, but I think I am quite a good loser,” he said. “I handle it well. If you don’t know how to lose, you can’t win a tournament.

“The other guys like to beat me. They give 200 per cent to beat me, but if that is the case people are going to make more mistakes.”

Van Gerwen has leapfrogged Phil Taylor, the sport’s greatest player, at the top of the rankings, and even the multiple world title winner has been impressed.

“I like his attitude,” Taylor said of his young rival.

“He is cocky. I love it and he inspires me. I don’t have a lot of motivation, but people like Michael motivate me.”

Van Gerwen begins his title defence with a quarter-final tie against his close friend James Wade this evening.

The Dutchman stayed at Wade’s house in the United Kingdom before they travelled together to this competition in the UAE.

Van Gerwen said their friendship would be pushed aside when they take to the oche at the Dubai Tennis Stadium.

“It has to be if you are going to win the tournament,” Van Gerwen said. “I am a little ahead on this stage, being more confident here.”

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Published: May 28, 2014 04:00 AM

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