It has been ten years since Michael van Gerwen reached his first World Darts Championship final. At the time, he lost to darts legend Phil Taylor, but in the years that followed, 'Mighty Mike' still won three world titles.
His last world title, however, dates back to 2019. In 2020, Van Gerwen lost in the final to Peter Wright, while a year later he was knocked out in the quarter-finals by Dave Chisnall. Last year, Van Gerwen remained unbeaten at the World Darts Championship but was eliminated from the tournament after the second round due to a COVID-19 infection.
''I always want to show what I can do. This year is really no different,'' Van Gerwen said in conversation with TOTO Dart Kings. ''You can't do better or extra your best, I always do my best already. I already work terribly hard for it. Then trying extra hard only backfires.''
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But the man from Vlijmen agrees that it is now time for another world title. ''It's always time for that in my eyes. I always want to perform there. Last year has obviously not been optimal for me. Taken out of the World Championship by a corona infection, got corona myself, playing without an audience and had an operation on my hand. Now I'm playing pain-free and stress-free, so I hope I can strike it lucky.''
Van Gerwen recently sealed the Players Championship Finals, the last tournament before the world championships. Earlier this season, 'Mighty Mike' was also the best in the Premier League Darts and at the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix.
''In terms of performance, I don't think I can go to a World Championship any better,'' the three-time world champion stated. ''But the preparation has to be good as well. But it does give a lot of confidence and satisfaction towards the World Championship and I need to carry that through.''
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What his preparation looks like towards the World Darts Championship? ''Pretty busy actually. A number of sponsorship commitments and I also have some exhibitions lined up. But I also need to take rest, make sure I appear well at the start of the World Championship.''
Van Gerwen's first game is scheduled for Wednesday 21 December. Then the winner from the friendly between Niels Zonneveld and Lewy Williams awaits.
''A fifty-fifty match if I look at it that way,'' he says of the clash between his compatriot and his Welsh opponent. ''If I have a euro to bet, I'd be more likely to bet it on Niels, but it's no guarantee. They are two players who are quite evenly matched,'' Van Gerwen said.