Raymond van Barneveld fulfilled a childhood dream this week, visiting Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
The 51-year old is in Brisbane for the latest instalment in the 2018 World Series. After visiting the Grand Canyon in July, van Barneveld decided to visit another natural phenomenon. He and manager Jaco van Bodegom went to take a look at the world’s largest coral reef, and the five-time world champion was delighted with the experience.
”This was a great opportunity, to visit the Great Barrier Reef. It had always been a dream, and that’s what’s great about the World Series, that you can make that dream come true. It was fantastic to do”, Van Barneveld told Dartsnews.com.
Prior to his dive adventure, ‘Barney’ suffered a minor scare. ”I fell down, because I was walking with flippers to the spot where we had to go into the water. But in the water it was fantastic.”
A warning from Barney
After a full day of relaxation, van Barneveld is now fully focused on the Brisbane Darts Masters, the final World Series event in August. Van Barneveld was heavily involved earlier this month in Auckland and in Melbourne. The Dutchman reached the final in the former, where he lost to Michael van Gerwen.
An Australian qualifier awaits in the first round in Brisbane. The five-time world champion has drawn Gordon Mathers. The Australian made his Alexandra Palace debut at the World Championship in December.
In each of the two tournaments in Auckland and Melbourne, one of the PDC invitees was beaten by a local representatives. In Auckland, Michael Smith was defeated by Mark McGrath, while Kyle Anderson was edged out by Damon Heta in Melbourne. Van Barneveld wants to make sure he will not be the next victim.
”You cannot underestimate anyone anymore. However, I have noticed that I become a bit nonchalant during my preparation. On the stage it is sometimes difficult to change your mindset. I always want to show my best game, but I often only manage that against the best players in the world.”
Yet ‘Barney’ is positive about his current form, especially considering the fact that he recently started playing with a new set of darts. This switch has been made to help van Barneveld to perform at his best during the majors in the second half of the season.
”My form is coming, but it has to be more consistent. Of course I have not played for long with my new darts, although I have to say that I love them. In September I have more time to really practice with them. The important months are coming and I want to perform there.”
Discussion about World Series
Over the last few weeks, the discussion about the role of the World Series has started again. According to critics, this circuit makes top players less keen about the ‘important’ tournaments. For example, in the two weeks prior to World Matchplay, World Series tournaments were held in Las Vegas and Shanghai.
Van Barneveld agrees that the World Series is a heavy burden, but mainly looks to the positive aspects of the circuit. It is, for him, a key way to make darts bigger around the world.
”I think the World Series is a great opportunity to bring the sport to people’s attention everywhere,” he said.
”When interest grows on certain continents, there are also more opportunities. Then there will be more players on the circuit, which will result in bigger tournaments.
”Of course it is a heavy burden for the players, but it is for a good cause and something we can benefit from.
“It can also be done in other ways, but it works best when something comes on TV to get maximum attention. They do this perfectly within the PDC. People must not forget that it is also incredibly hard work for everyone behind the scenes.”
Author: Pieter Verbeek