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Van Gerwen brands Smith “mentally weak” ahead of US Masters meeting

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Smith hits back at Van Gerwen over “mentally weak” claims

Jamie Shaw in Darts Interviews 06 Jul 2019
Smith has responded to MVG’s remarks (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Michael Smith has dismissed Michael van Gerwen’s claims he is “mentally weak” as “a load of rubbish” after defeating the Dutchman in the US Darts Masters.
Van Gerwen suggested prior to their Quarter-Final meeting in Las Vegas on Friday that Smith lacks the mental strength to match his unquestioned natural talent.
“With all the respect, Michael’s talent is phenomenal but in the mental aspect, he is weak and we all know that,” the Dutchman told Live Darts.
Smith, however, went on to record his first victory over MVG in 12 months, punishing an average of just 88.5 from the world number one to claim an 8-6 triumph.
Smith went on to defeat Gerwyn Price in the Semi-Finals before falling short to a red hot Nathan Aspinall in the final, and admitted afterwards that Van Gerwen’s comments had made his victory more satisfying. 
“The win was more pleasing because of the rubbish he said about me not being mentally strong,” Smith told Live Darts.
“If I wasn’t mentally strong, I would have asked for help seven years ago when I started struggling, so that’s just a load of rubbish.
“To beat him, I can say now that he’s not mentally strong because he looked like he couldn’t be bothered playing.
“It’s nice to get wins when you’re not playing well.
“I played well against Gerwyn Price in the Semi-Finals and it was nice to get the win there. I’ve reached the World Championship final, the Semi-Finals of the UK Open and the final in Vegas, so it’s not too bad.”
The 28-year-old also revealed how Van Gerwen had sent him latenight messages prior to their meeting in the World Championship final in January and admits mind games are becoming more commonplace behind the scenes.
He added: “He did it at the World Championship. He was texting me the night before we played, sending pictures saying “I’m tired” and “I can’t sleep” – I thought why are you texting me? Text your wife!
“He tries it but things like that just do my head in, it winds me up.
“I had it last week with Corey Cadby, he was texting me before we were about to play in the European Tour then he came and practiced with me and gave me a load of rubbish.
“I think that’s how they know, if they try and get into my head it might work or it might not.
“It’s that trying too hard thing, against Michael [Van Gerwen] I tried way too hard but luckily enough he was just as bad as me.”