INTERVIEW: Van Peer doesn't want to set expectations too high after returning from 'deep lows'
Berry van Peer is making his return to the PDC Pro Tour circuit this season after a three-year absence. ‘Bionic’ earned a PDC Tour Card for 2021 and 2022 after a couple of good results on the Development Tour.
Van Peer won the first of ten Development Tour events last year, but laid the foundation for his third place on the Development Tour Order of Merit during the final weekend in September. He reached four Semi-Finals on the spin, putting him ahead of fellow countryman Damian Mol. Because number one Ryan Meikle has a Tour Card already, a third place was enough for Van Peer.
''I was very consistent that weekend'', Van Peer looked back in an interview with Dutch website Dartsnieuws. ''You need a little bit of luck as well. Someone who misses a double, before hitting the double yourself. My averages were not extremely high, but it was good enough to produce consistently good results.''
The Dutchman had a Tour Card before in 2016 and 2017. What did he learn from this period? ''Not missing too many doubles'', he joked. Then he talked in a serious tone about his earlier experience.
Good results until 'the moment'
''I had some good results in the first year. Two Quarter-Finals on the Pro Tour. I beat big names, which was a big thing for me as well. I also suffered some huge defeats, but that are things you can learn from. I was used to that in my second year. It went well, until the moment. From there it has gone downhill.''
With 'the moment', Van Peer refers to his struggle with dartitis. A hitch in the throw that prevents a player from releasing the dart in time or even releasing at all. This struggle was visible when Van Peer competed at the Grand Slam of Darts in 2017.
The Dutchman prefers not to look back on this period. However, in a video interview with local channel Omroep Brabant we can see his throw is much better at the moment.
No sign of dartitis can be seen. However Van Peer himself notices that his rhythm could be improved a bit. He just needs to play matches to do that.
“I notice that I miss a lot of match rhythm at the moment, so the rhythm is a little less. I'm a rhythm player and if you can't play any tournaments, it doesn't suit me.''
Van Peer prefers to look back to his highlights from his earlier Tour Card years. Thinking of his proudest moment, he mentions reaching the Quarter-Finals of a Players Championship event in 2016.
“When I look at which players I beat back then and how they play now, I'm giving myself an applause. The first round was against Ron Meulenkamp (6-5), then against Ronnie Baxter (6-4). Then I played against Gerwyn Price (6-5), followed by Darren Webster (6-4) and finally Michael van Gerwen (3-6). I am proud of that'', said Van Peer.
The 24-year-old Dutchman has a positive head-to-head record against the current world champion due to his victory over Price at the time. A nice statistic, but Van Peer doesn't attach too much value to it.
''He was not as good as he is now. I can still remember that match very well. It was a good game. I won it 6-5 after hitting a 12-dart leg in the decider. If I beat him now, it would be a win of a different caliber.''
Not too high expectations
Another meeting with Price could follow in 2021. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is still uncertain when the Pro Tour season will start.
Van Peer hopes to get a start date soon, because he notices that it is mentally difficult to keep making those practice hours without knowing when he can get back to work.
"I know I have to practice a lot more. But without knowing the tournament schedule, it's hard to practice without a clear goal. Last year, the Development Tour tournaments were also repeatedly postponed. When they confirmed a new date, I started practicing more often because I knew I had to be ready by that date. It's a mental aspect, that I have something to practice for.''
Van Peer knows that he will participate in at least one televised tournament this year, as all Tour Card holders are invited for the UK Open. While many players state at the start of a first Tour Card year that they want to qualify - at least - for the World Championship, Van Peer remains modest with his ambitions.
''I just want to try to get in the Players Championship Finals (best 64 players from the Players Championship events). I'm coming from a really deep low, so I dont want to set my expectations too high. If I start the year well, I can always adjust my goals.''