Michael van Gerwen has enjoyed the best year of his career in 2012, winning seven Pro Tour events and his first major PDC title, when he stormed to victory at the World Grand Prix in Dublin in October.
The 23-year-old Dutch sensation heads into the 2013 PDC World Darts Championship as a strong contender to lift the £200,000 title after a brilliant twelve months, which also included a spectacular nine-dart finish at the World Matchplay and a stunning victory over 15-time World Champion Phil Taylor at the Grand Slam of Darts.
In part two, van Gerwen shares the reasons behind his decision to join the PDC and his first appearance at the Ladbrokes World Championship:
I played in a big tournament in Holland, the Masters of Darts, as a result of my switch to the PDC. It was a tournament that I was desperate to play in so I knew that I had to switch. That was one of the reasons I moved over and I’m glad I did. I played very well there and reached the semi-finals, where I hit a nine-darter against Raymond van Barneveld.
The other main reason was that I wanted to play against the best players in the world. I wanted to be up against the likes of Raymond and Phil Taylor and they were all in the PDC. There was also better money to be earned in the PDC and if it’s going to be your full time job, you want to earn good money so I felt it was the only choice really. I never had any bad feelings about joining the PDC. It was a big step but a step that I needed to take to become a better player.
I never assumed that would go into the PDC and win titles straight away. That is not the way it works. There are so many good players around. You have to practise and work hard because you never have an easy game. It is all about practice, practice and more practice to make sure you are prepared for every tournament.
I had a very good year in my first year in the PDC. I qualified myself for the UK Open, World Matchplay and World Championships, where I drew Phil Taylor in the first round. I knew it was going to be a tough game because he is not the 15-time World Champion for no reason but I was not under any pressure. I just thought to myself that I need to play well and take my chances. I almost managed it but I missed a dart to win the match and he knocked me out of the tournament. Of course I was upset but there is no shame in losing to Phil Taylor.”
By Chris Murphy
PART THREE WILL BE POSTED ON FRIDAY DECEMBER 14.