Van Gerwen hails 'fantastic' Dutch fans following home soil success

Michael van Gerwen (Kelly Deckers/PDC)

Michael van Gerwen paid tribute to his ‘fantastic’ home crowd after celebrating his fifth Jack’s World Series of Darts Finals title in Amsterdam on Sunday.

Van Gerwen stormed to victory in the Dutch capital with a comprehensive 11-4 success against World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall, winning eight of the last ten legs to triumph.

The Dutchman also made history by landing a sensational nine-darter in his semi-final win over Luke Humphries, achieving the first perfect leg at the World Series Finals, and the first in a PDC televised event in the Netherlands.

This was preceded by a 103 average in his quarter-final thriller against Dimitri Van den Bergh, and he maintained that imperious form to pocket the £75,000 top prize on a memorable night at AFAS Live.

“It was a tough weekend, but I think I deserved it,” insisted Van Gerwen, who also won the World Series Finals in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019.

“You always want to perform well, and to win a title in front of your home crowd, it gives you extra joy.

“I think the biggest challenge for me was the pressure of playing in front of the home crowd, but they have been absolutely fantastic this weekend.

“Even Luke Humphries after our semi-final said that the crowd were phenomenal, and you can only be proud of that.”

Van Gerwen was featuring in his first televised event since July’s World Matchplay, where he suffered a shock first-round exit at the hands of Brendan Dolan.

The 34-year-old chose not to compete in last month’s Oceanic World Series of Darts double-header, therefore he arrived on home soil with question marks surrounding his form.

However, Van Gerwen quashed those doubts in emphatic style, following up his terrific comeback win against William O’Connor on Saturday with a trio of devastating displays on Finals Day.

“When you have to dig deep and fight to win matches, it’s good for your confidence, but of course there is more work to do,” conceded the three-time World Champion.

“I’m not playing my best yet, but I’m still winning, and that is a really nice feeling.

“We all know where I am coming from. I’ve had a lot of time off, and I’m trying to battle back now and regain my confidence, to go on all the way towards the World Championship.”

Van Gerwen will aim to continue his winning run at this weekend’s Hungarian Darts Trophy in Budapest, before his focus switches to his defence of the World Grand Prix title next month.

The unique double-start event will take place from October 2-8 at Leicester’s Morningside Arena – the first of five televised ranking events to be played over the coming months.

Despite his exploits in 2023, Van Gerwen is yet to win a TV ranking title this calendar year, with his Players Championship Finals triumph last November marking his last big-stage ranking success.

That is a record the Dutch superstar is desperate to rectify, as he bids to reclaim the world number one spot currently occupied by World Champion Michael Smith.

“Being the world number one is my biggest goal,” revealed Van Gerwen, who spent seven years at the summit between January 2014 to January 2021.

“I want to be back at the top [of the rankings]. It is going to be a tough task, but I know I’m capable of doing that.

“It’s a crucial period coming up, but I will be ready for it, trust me. This is the only start.”