Van Gerwen confident of celebrating Premier League milestone in style

Van Gerwen confident of celebrating Premier League milestone in style

Michael van Gerwen is targeting a record-breaking seventh Cazoo Premier League title in 2023 as he celebrates his tenth anniversary at the sport’s biggest roadshow.

The reigning champion will start his 11th Premier League season at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Thursday night as he looks to make more history at the £1million event.

Van Gerwen made his Premier League debut in 2013, finishing the league stage at the top and beating Phil Taylor in a thrilling final to clinch the title on debut.

The Dutchman has been the dominant force in the Premier League over the past decade, winning six titles and reaching eight finals while breaking a host of records.

“It was not so bad”, quipped Van Gerwen, who takes on world champion Michael Smith in a blockbuster quarter-final in Belfast on Thursday.

“I still remember winning my first Premier League title with the 132 finish!

“It was an amazing moment and one I will always remember because to beat Phil in the final against such a great player in such a big tournament was incredible.

“You always have to be critical of yourself and say, ‘Maybe I could have done better in some stages’, but I think over the years I’ve done really well in this tournament.”

Van Gerwen comes into this year’s Premier League confident after picking up five televised awards in a trophy-rich 2022 season.

The Dutchman’s sixth Premier League success last June sparked his return to winning ways as he clinched World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals titles later in the year.

“I’ve played really well in the last 12 months” explained Van Gerwen, who beat Joe Cullen 11-10 in last year’s final to take home the top prize of £275,000.

“Last year I had a lot of problems with my wrist, with carpal tunnel syndrome.

“At that moment you have to deal with the situation because I didn’t have time to have surgery during the Premier League.

“I recovered a lot quicker than I thought I would. It could have been quite a dangerous operation for me, but luckily I’m still in a good place.

“Of course I could have won the World Cup, but apart from that I think I’ve had a phenomenal year and I feel good.”

The three-time world champion has failed to make the play-offs just once in ten previous appearances and has been a record winner of the league stage a record eight times.

Van Gerwen celebrated victories at Exeter, Brighton and Leeds in last season’s Premier League and with his injury worries settled, he is hoping for more success in 2023.

“I feel confident, but you always have to be confident.” added the 33-year-old, who is tied with six Premier League titles alongside Taylor.

“The main goal is to finish in the top four at the end of the season. It’s going to be a long journey so I need to make sure I’m fit week in and week out.

“You have to be ready or you shouldn’t be playing in the Premier League and ten years after my debut I’m hoping to produce something special.”

Van Gerwen opens his title defense against world champion Smith in a repeat of their epic Cazoo World Championship final at Alexandra Palace last month.

Smith landed an amazing nine-dart finish en route to capital city glory and completed a 7-4 win to seal his first World Championship crown.

However, the Dutchman has fond memories of the Premier League game against Smith, having amassed a remarkable 123.40 average in a 7-1 win over the St Helens star in the 2016 edition.

That remains the highest televised average in darts history and Van Gerwen sunk Smith averaging 112.37 in the 2018 Finals to prevail in another stunning match.

“Michael and I always have great games” admitted Van Gerwen, who has lost his last four televised duels against the new world number one.

“I’ve lost to him a couple of times, I’ve beaten him many times, but it doesn’t matter.

“This year’s Premier League is a fresh start so I need to make sure I start strong. I look forward to it.”

The Cazoo Premier League 2023 will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, via PDC’s global broadcast partners including DAZN, Viaplay and VTM, and on PDCTV for subscribers from the rest of the world.

2023 Cazoo Premier League
Night One – Thursday February 2nd
The SSE Arena, Belfast
quarter finals

Dimitri Van den Bergh vs. Jonny Clayton
Michael Smith versus Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright vs. Chris Dobey
Nathan Aspinall vs Gerwyn Price

semifinals
Van den Bergh/Clayton versus Smith/Van Gerwen
Wright/Dobey versus Aspinall/Price

final
v
All Games – Best of 11 Legs

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