Van Gerwen vying to create more Ally Pally history

Michael van Gerwen (PDC)

Michael van Gerwen insists he has nothing to prove at this year’s Cazoo World Darts Championship, as he bids to cap off a remarkable revival by lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy for a fourth time in January.

The three-time World Champion comes into the sport’s flagship event brimming with confidence, following a series of imperious displays throughout the season.

Van Gerwen has celebrated Premier League, World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals success within the last six months, reaffirming his status as the sport's premier player.

The Dutchman has seen Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright jostling for the world number one spot during the last 12 months, although Van Gerwen insists he remains the man to beat at Alexandra Palace.

“I don’t have to prove that I am better than anyone, because they know if I play my A-game, I am the best,” said Van Gerwen, who will reclaim the world number one spot with victory in the capital.

“If you look to my games against Gerwyn and Peter, if you look at the stats – they don’t lie.

“I have a big target on my back, but I can handle it. I've been under pressure so many times, and most of the time, I've survived.”

Van Gerwen’s exploits in 2022 are even more remarkable given his injury struggles, which saw him undergo carpal tunnel surgery just hours after clinching his sixth Premier League crown in June.

The 33-year-old began the year with question marks surrounding his supremacy, but he’s responded in emphatic style and will head to Alexandra Palace as the bookmakers’ favourite for the £500,000 top prize.

“I had to dig deep most of the time but that’s good,” added Van Gerwen, who will play fellow Dutchman Niels Zonneveld or Lewy Williams in his second round tie on December 21.

“It gives you that fighting energy, it’s good for your confidence and I think there is room for more.

“Everyone knows the last few years have been tough for me, but the most important thing is how you battle back and I’ve done that well this year.”

Van Gerwen warmed up for this year’s World Championship in perfect style, winning a record-extending seventh title at the Players Championship Finals in Minehead less than a fortnight ago.

The Boxtel ace landed a magnificent nine-darter to topple Rob Cross in an epic final, and he’s now eyeing his first World Darts Championship crown since 2019.

No player has lifted more titles at Alexandra Palace than the irrepressible Dutchman, and he has Raymond van Barneveld’s tally of five World Championships firmly in his sights.

“I want to win a minimum of five world titles,” continued Van Gerwen, who clinched the sport's biggest prize in 2014, 2017 and 2019 respectively.

“I think I could have won more World Championships, but I still have a long career in front of me and I want to win as many tournaments as I can.

“It would be absolutely amazing [to win this title again], but I can picture myself with the trophy on my shoulders as much as I want.

“I just need to keep doing what I love the most, which is winning games on the big stage.”