Van Barneveld vows to battle on despite early retirement thoughts

Dutch legend Van Barneveld aims to bow out on a high (credit:Chris Dean/PDC)

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld has revealed he considered quitting the sport immediately after his shock early exit at the World Championship in December.

Van Barneveld, who announced last November that he is to retire from professional darts at the end of the 2019 season, was dumped out of the sport's show-piece by Lithuania's Darius Labanauskas in the Last 64 at Ally Pally.

However, the 51-year-old was handed a wildcard spot in the 2019 Unibet Premier League for what will be a farewell tour in the elite invitational.

Van Barneveld has dropped to 28th in the PDC Order of Merit, his lowest position since switching from the BDO in 2006, and admits he contemplated early retirement following his World Championship heartbreak but is now determined to grasp his Premier League lifeline.

"I'm very happy that the PDC gave me another chance," Van Barneveld told Live Darts.

"I'm 28 in the world now so I was flabbergasted I got the wildcard.

"Now it's on me, I hope to do very well, especially those nights in Rotterdam.

"I had a couple of options, my head was bad at the beginning of January and I was thinking of quitting now, which is not good for the fans, sponsors and the PDC.

"Option two was to skip the Premier League and do the rest, and option three was to play the Premier League and eventually maybe some World Series and that's it, which was the good option, but I want to aim for the World Championship and lift the trophy there at the end.

"There was only one other option left which was to play as much as I can."

Van Barneveld's lowly world ranking means his place in a number of major tournaments in his final season is under serious threat, and the popular Dutchman has vowed to do everything he can to ensure qualification.

He added: "If you compare it to Phil's [Taylor] last year when he said goodbye, he was still top four or five in the world so that means he was in the Matchplay etc, but for me it's different, I have to start from scratch again.

"I have to make really good efforts and get ranking points.

"I think I need 20 or 25 thousand to be in the top 32 for the Worlds to be in the Second Round, otherwise I will be in trouble.

"The first target is to get myself in the World Matchplay, which guarantees me at least 10k already to build up to the World Championship.

"Apart from the Premier League, the UK Open is the only televised event I'm in at the moment.

"At the end you want to be in the World Championship and have a good run and hopefully you win it.

"I've rejected six or seven exhibitions to try to qualify for Euro Tours.

"I'm practicing really hard at the moment, the Premier League is one thing but my biggest aim is to be in the World Championship so I need to do well in all the ranking tournaments."

The format of this year's Premier League has been radically revamped following the withdrawal of two-time champion Gary Anderson, with nine of the original selections now joined by a wildcard 'Contender'.

The opening nine nights of competition will each feature a different Contender local to that particular venue, and though they cannot acquire points themselves, Contenders are vying for an added incentive of £2,500 for a win or £1,000 for a draw.

Van Barneveld has the formidable task of facing German number one Max Hopp in Berlin next month but says he has no real complaints over the decision.

"Gary is phenomenal, he's won the Premier League twice, I feel sorry and I hope he's recovering quick," added RVB.

"The PDC have done a really good job to give the contenders the opportunity and maybe for younger players in the future to be involved in the Premier League.

"I've got Max Hopp in Berlin in front of 14,000, so I'm not really happy with that, but Max Hopp or Gary Anderson in Berlin? I think it's a massive difference.

"I always find it hard to pick ten players, luckily it's not me who has to make that decision, but I'm pretty sure the PDC had one or two meetings to do what they did.

"I think it's okay but I heard a lot of players, managers and many people on Twitter moan about inviting nine players and playing for points.

"I have an opinion like everybody else but my opinion is not really important, I'm just happy to be involved in the Premier League.

"If you're number 28 in the world, you have to say a big thank you to the PDC and Sky to be involved."



Share this with your friends

To:
From:
Your comments:

Van Barneveld vows to battle on despite early retirement thoughts

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld has revealed he considered quitting the sport immediately after his shock early exit at the World Championship in December.

Read more »

You have unread messages

You have unread messages