Aspinall: Van Gerwen is the best of my era

Nathan Aspinall (Kelly Deckers/PDC)

Nathan Aspinall hailed Michael van Gerwen as the greatest player of his era, after succumbing to the Dutchman at last weekend’s Jack’s World Series of Darts Finals.

Van Gerwen demolished Aspinall 11-4 in Sunday’s showpiece to clinch his record-extending fifth World Series Finals title, winning eight of the last ten legs to triumph in Amsterdam.

The 34-year-old was in sensational form on home soil, defeating William O’Connor, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Luke Humphries and Aspinall to secure his fourth televised crown of 2023.

Van Gerwen fought back from 3-0 down to sink O'Connor, averaged 103 in his quarter-final clash against Van den Bergh, and landed a nine-darter in the second leg of his semi-final epic against Humphries.

This set up a showdown against Aspinall at AFAS Live, but the World Matchplay champion was blown away by the home favourite, who stormed to victory in emphatic fashion.

“I said to Michael: ‘I don’t know how he does it’. He is phenomenal,” claimed Aspinall, who was also beaten by Van Gerwen in last October’s World Grand Prix decider.

“The stamina he has is incredible; his will to win is exceptional. It’s an honour to share the stage with him.
“In my era, Michael is the best. Simple as that. There are no arguments in my eyes.

“I still have that feeling when I’m playing Michael: ‘You’re playing Van Gerwen on stage’. I’ve played him in two finals now, and it’s an amazing feeling.

“Nobody can stop the guy when he’s on form, and he showed why he’s a World Champion [this weekend].”

However, Aspinall insisted he was proud of his performances in the Dutch capital, after overcoming Danny Noppert, Keegan Brown and Peter Wright on his way to Sunday’s finale.

The Stockport star ran out a convincing winner against Dutch number two Noppert and Brown, before defying a spirited fightback from Wright to celebrate a hard-fought 11-9 success in the last four.

“Coming into the weekend, I would have taken a final,” admitted the world number five.

“I gave it my all. I’m a fighter and I will never give up, but I think it was one step too far.

“I’m still keeping my feet on the ground, but I’ve made another major final. I think that is four in the last year, so I’m proud of what I have done.

“One day I will beat Michael in a final! He’s taken some money off me now, but I’m very proud of myself - it was a great weekend for me.”