The pre-tournament favourite, who was odds on to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy for the second time ahead of his clash with ‘Barney’, crashed out with a 4-3 defeat despite an average of almost 106 – the highest ever losing average in a World Championship match.
And the 2014 Alexandra Palace winner admitted that it was a painful defeat to take.
He said: “This hurts so much. Raymond played well but I missed too many important shots at the wrong times. I wanted this so much. It is the World Championship and I would give up every other title just to win this one.
“All I can do now is dust myself down, get back on the practice board and prepare for next year. I will come back stronger from this but right now it hurts a lot. I’ve had such a fantastic year until now and I want to thank everyone who has helped me and supported me – my fans, my sponsors, my friends and my family. I will use this to come back even better for them.”
van Gerwen back on TV screens to defend his Masters title on January 30-31.