Michael van Gerwen has vowed to create more history after clinching a record-equalling sixth Cazoo Premier League title in Berlin on Monday night.
Van Gerwen prevailed in a last-leg thriller to sink Joe Cullen 11-10 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, surviving a match dart in the decider to secure his first Premier League crown since 2019.
The Dutchman led 3-1 and 6-4 before Cullen wrestled back the initiative, only for Van Gerwen to fire in a brilliant 13-darter against throw in the final leg, to triumph with a 99 average and five 180s.
Earlier in the evening, the world number three also averaged 99 in a comprehensive 10-4 semi-final win over 2009 champion James Wade, winning seven of the last eight legs to book his place in Monday evening's showpiece.
“I won today purely on character,” admitted Van Gerwen, who pockets £305,000 in total from this year’s Premier League.
“It had everything. It was tense, two good players, drama, good scoring, good finishing. That makes a great final.
“I think the crowd were brilliant as well. They deserved a tense game like this, and I’m happy I came out on the winning side.”
The three-time World Champion boasts an extraordinary record in the sport’s biggest roadshow, having only twice failed to make the final in ten appearances.
The Boxtel ace has now equalled Phil Taylor’s haul of six Premier League titles, but insists there is still plenty more to come.
“I’m going to beat that record as well, don’t worry. I have still got 10 or 15 years to go,” added the 33-year-old.
“After the World Championship title, this is the most important one for me.
“It is probably the hardest to win too. We have to travel for 16 weeks, you have to perform for 16 weeks.
“There is a lot of tension, a lot of drama, and that is not always good for your confidence, but that’s the reality of the Premier League and you have to accept it.”
Van Gerwen was visibly emotional post-match, as he celebrated his first victory in a PDC Premier event since his Players Championship Finals triumph in November 2020.
During this period, he has endured his longest title drought for a decade, while also relinquishing his world number one status following an eight-year spell at the sport’s summit.
“It has been really painful,” the Dutchman conceded.
“I created my own problems a bit, and I get slaughtered [by the media] if I don’t do the right things at the right moments.
“Everyone expects Michael to win, but it’s not always that easy. The most important thing is that I won this title though, and that gives me a great feeling.”
Van Gerwen now returns to the Netherlands for surgery on an arm injury, which will rule him out of this year’s Cazoo World Cup of Darts in Frankfurt.
However, the six-time Premier League champion is confident of hitting the ground running on his return.
“I have already had two cortisone injections in my wrist, and my doctor said if you don’t want to have permanent nerve damage, you need to have this surgery,” said Van Gerwen.
“I don’t want to create a problem for myself. I thought this was the right moment for me to have the operation and make sure everything is right.
“I know there is more in the tank, I know there is more to come, but we are going to see that in a couple of weeks’ time.”