Michael van Gerwen has lifted the lid on his ill feeling towards fellow Dutchman Jelle Klaasen following their Second Round…
Michael van Gerwen has lifted the lid on his ill feeling towards fellow Dutchman Jelle Klaasen following their Second Round show-down on opening night at the World Darts Championship.
Defending champion MVG recovered from a set down to reel off three on the spin and secure his place in the Third Round at Alexandra Palace, denying his bitter rival a famous triumph.
Once childhood friends, Van Gerwen and Klaasen have not seen eye-to-eye for the past seven years, dating back to when Klaasen was accused of sending explicit photo messages to a 15-year-old family friend of Van Gerwen.
In December of that year, Klaasen was sentenced to 16 hours of community service and a fine of 327 euros and resumed his darts career the following season.
Friday’s World Championship clash was their first competitive meeting for over two years, and Van Gerwen opened up on the situation between the two in a raw press conference.
“It wasn’t straightforward,” admitted Van Gerwen, who has not lost to Klaasen since 2014.
“It was tough for me, me and Jelle of course had a past, I hate him so I don’t want to lose to him and that made it really difficult for me in this game.
“We don’t like each other and that made it harder. It’s even more important I won this game.
“Of course you want to do better, but it was tough today.
“I put more pressure on myself but I’m really glad a couple of good finishes helped me out because the start of the game was really poor.
“Even the 170 was a good finish but the 130 changed the match.
“He didn’t take his chances and I hurt him, it’s that simple.
“It’s unfortunate I played Jelle in the opening round because you want to survive, you don’t want to make any mistakes, you want to perform with your ‘A’ game but at least I won, that’s the most important thing.
“I’m on a good run these past few months so I hope I can keep doing it.
“At times I haven’t been at my best but I’ve still won more than anyone else.”
Three-time World Champion Van Gerwen will now return to action on December 22 to face either Ricky Evans, Mark McGeeney or Matt Campbell.