Jelle Klaasen has offered his thoughts on Raymond van Barneveld’s darting farewell.

The five-time world champion announced plans to retire from the game after the 2020 PDC World Championship. He was subsequently dumped out of the 2019 championships by Darius Labanauskas, and has suffered ever since. Despite that, he was picked for the Premier League Darts. After struggling at the bottom for a couple weeks, he was dropped out of the competition after Judgement Night. Klaasen suggests that the retirement announcement has proved to be a double-edged sword for Barney.
“I think probably if he didn’t announce his retirement, he probably would’ve played better this year,” the Cobra told Live Darts.
“But I think he wouldn’t have got the Premier League and all the other tournaments.
“So for him, it was a wise decision to announce it before the Worlds. For him playing, it’s not so good, because there’s pressure every time he’s playing – ‘it’s my last time here, it’s my last time here’ – and he wants to do well. I think sometimes the pressure gets to him.
“He’s not in the best form of his life and even though he got the Premier League because it’s his last year, I think form-wise he wasn’t ready for it.”

Stefan Straßenburg/PDC Europe

Photo: Stefan Straßenburg/PDC Europe

Cobra backs contenders

The Premier League contenders have divided opinion so far. Some have loved the reception given to the likes of John Henderson, Jeffrey de Zwaan, Dimitri van den Bergh and Chris Dobey. Others have questioned the exclusion of big names like Simon Whitlock. Klaasen suggests that it isn’t the contenders whose inclusion doesn’t seem right.
“I think it’s good to get the experience. Before they should have the discussion on why they didn’t put Whitlock in, why they put Raymond in.” he suggested.
“I think it was the easy decision to put Whitlock in but for the crowd, for the people at home, I think it’s nice to see a different face every week.”

Selection dilemma

Another tournament Barney may well be in for is the World Cup of Darts. Along with Michael van Gerwen, he has won the event a record four times. Three times with Van Gerwen, once with Co Stompé. But now he sits behind Jermaine Wattimena in the rankings. Klaasen wants Wattimena to take part, but is resigned to a different outcome.
“He’s lucky that he will probably get the World Cup with Michael so he gets another shot at the Grand Slam to get ranking points for the Worlds,” Klaasen said.
“But I think they should pick Jermaine (Wattimena) because he’s highest in the rankings.
“Then the chances of getting in the Worlds would be even slimmer, so it’s a tough year for him.
“I spoke to Wattimena. He said ‘yeah, I want to play the World Cup, but Raymond will probably get it because it’s his last year and they’re defending it’.
“Jermaine deserves it if he’s above Raymond in the rankings before the cut-off. I think they’ll probably give it to Raymond.
“It’s not fair, but that’s how it works.”

Kelly Deckers/PDC Europe

Photo: Kelly Deckers/PDC Europe


Author: Ed McCosh