Michael Smith beat Michael van Gerwen in last year’s final to clinch his first world championship title. Van Gerwen last won the competition back in 2019. Watch the World Darts Championship from December 15, 2023 to January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 06/12/23 9:25am
Michael van Gerwen insists he is confident and still the player to beat ahead of the start of the 2024 World Darts Championship on December 15.
The three-time world champion was defeated by England’s Michael Smith in the last World Darts final with a 7-4 victory at the Alexandra Palace to become the new world No 1.
Luke Humphries has since risen to prominence, winning three major titles in just 49 days including a 11-9 win against Van Gerwen to clinch the Players Championship Finals title in Minehead.
Despite the defeat, Van Gerwen feels optimistic ahead of the world championships and is confident that he is still the player to beat in these finals, despite not having won the competition since 2019.
“You need to get the positives out of it (the defeat to Humphries). I played a fantastic tournament and I was the better player, it’s probably the best I’ve played in the last few months from that perspective, I see a lot of opportunities,” the world No 2 said.
“Of course I am confident (for the world championships), they still have to beat me.
“I think if you ask all the players who they want to beat most, it is me.
“I have so many great memories at the Ally Pally. Great wins, tough defeats, that is the way it goes”, Van Gerwen added.
Having a family alters motivation
Van Gerwen has led a decade of darting dominance since his 2012 World Grand Prix win to become widely regarded as one of the best players of all time, but the Dutchman expressed that since starting a family in 2017, his motivations and priorities have changed.
“Having a family, it totally changes you. It is a totally different life,” said Van Gerwen.
“You have to adjust yourself to the situation and I think that it is all good, I can’t complain.
“Of course the motivation is different but then darts is not number one anymore, but your kids are number one.
“You are a little bit more relaxed but that is how it is, you can’t change that.
“Your kids are more important than a world championship, 10 world championships, you can’t change that.
“You have more responsibilities. When me and my wife didn’t have kids, you had a nice lie in until 11 o’clock it didn’t matter, now we look after the babies, the dogs, life has changed.”
Watch the World Darts Championship from December 15, 2023 to January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports. Stream your favourite sports and more with NOW