A journey to the Netherlands was one we didn’t expect to be making this week, but Michael van Gerwen would never have thought he’d be at home this early either.
The world number one arrived in Blackpool for the World Matchplay – as he does at most events – as the heavy favourite to claim the newly minted Phil Taylor Trophy. However, the little-known Jeffrey de Zwaan had other ideas and stunned Planet Darts by dumping out van Gerwan 10-6, inflicted a second upset defeat on his illustrious countryman in the space of just under six months.
Darts pundits rushed to try and explain van Gerwen’s loss as the man himself wasted no time in leaving the British seaside resort for home, so we travelled to a beautiful local bar just outside the Dutch town of Hertogenbosch to talk to the two-time world champ.
Just like his darts, MVG got straight to the point on his defeat.
“It’s annoying to be out of the tournament. But, what can you do? You have to move on forward,” said van Gerwen.
“I’m just human and I’m not a robot. Sometimes it’s not always easy for me, but there are a lot more tournaments coming up for me so I need to make sure I’m playing better in the next ones.”
Being top of the PDC Order of Merit can quite literally take you all around the world and, having competed in recent weeks in Las Vegas and Shanghai, tungsten watchers have speculated that fatigue and jetlag were behind van Gerwen’s premature departure in Blackpool. However, the world number one was having none of that theory when asked.
“I don’t blame anything like that for my defeat to Jeffrey de Zwaan,” van Gerwen explained. “Of course, you can see all the players who’ve been on the tour were struggling a bit with it and not putting in their best performances, but I only want to blame myself for the loss.”
“It’s easy to blame something else and I don’t want to be in that position, I don’t want to do things like that.”
Jeffrey de Zwaan has continued his excellent run at the World Matchplay since defeating MVG in round one, adding Adrian Lewis to his list of victims and now plays Dave Chisnall in Thursday night’s quarter-final.
Asked if he feels his fellow Dutch player’s hot streak was a factor in the loss van Gerwen praised his current form, but also felt if he had thrown to his usual high standards that he should have been able to “blow away” de Zwaan.
“Jeffrey is an okay player, but if me or Adrian Lewis play our game like we’re supposed to – we blow him away, simple as that.
“When he gets his trust and confidence up he can play well, but I shouldn’t have let him be in that position. You can’t look back though, you need to look forward because there’s so many important tournaments coming up.
“I just need to do my own thing, defeat is sometimes part of that and it makes you stronger at the end of the day.”