Five biggest absentees from 2021 World Matchplay
The 28th edition of the World Matchplay will start this Saturday. The field of participants includes seven debutants, which means a number of big names have fallen by the wayside this year.
For example, no fewer than three players who have participated in the World Matchplay in the past ten editions are missing. A semi-finalist and a finalist from the 2018 edition will also not participate in Blackpool. See below the five biggest absentees during the upcoming edition.
First of all we start with a name who was involved but had to pull out due to medical reasons.
The Austrian has participated in the World Matchplay seven times in the past and even made it to the final in 2018 losing in an epic against Gary Anderson 21-19 seen by many as one of the greatest games ever to grace the Winter Gardens stage. He was replaced by Jermaine Wattimena.
Similarly from 2018's edition was a former semi-finalist in Jeffrey de Zwaan who did not come close to qualifying this year after an injury which has prevented him from reaching top form again after surgery.
De Zwaan had his big breakthrough back in 2018 defeating Michael van Gerwen (10-6) and also dealt with Adrian Lewis (11-9) and Dave Chisnall (16-8) before losing out to Gary Anderson 17-12.
While one Aussie in Damon Heta makes his World Matchplay debut, another departs for the first time since 2009.
Simon Whitlock is the highest player on the PDC Order of Merit to miss out sitting 19th and he fell three places short through the Order of Merit and was 37th on the ProTour rankings.
A former semi-finalist in 2010 and 2014, he also resoundingly beat Michael van Gerwen one of multiple times last year in majors 11-4 in the second round.
There is also no place for Adrian Lewis in the field this year and that is for the first time since 2004. Jackpot previously made an appearance at the World Matchplay sixteen years in a row .
Lewis has struggled with his form for a long time, but the 2011 and 2012 world champion has been on an upward trend again in recent weeks. However, his revival came too late to really interfere in the battle for the qualifying spots.
Last year Lewis was still a quarterfinalist in this tournament and lost 16-12 to eventual champion Dimitri van den Bergh. He achieved his best result in 2013 with a place in the final, in 2007, 2011, 2016 and 2017 Lewis lost in the last four.
If you look at the number of participations in the past, Steve Beaton is the biggest absentee at the World Matchplay 2021. The Bronzed Adonis has already participated no less than 21 times.
The former BDO World Champion made his debut in 1998 and played every year from 2001 to 2020.
Beaton did not achieve much success at this tournament. He has made it to the last eight only three times and Beaton has lost seven times in the first round in the past eight editions.