Michael van Gerwen starts full of confidence at the World Cup darts in London. Thirty-year-old Brabant number one in the world is by no means saturated despite a bulging prize cabinet. "I want to give my children a good future."

This summer, for the first time, the dominance of Van Gerwen was doubted. His early elimination at the World Matchplay and the World Cup of Darts, among others, could well be the beginning of the end, according to various connoisseurs and rivals.

Nothing turned out to be less true. Van Gerwen fought back and won no less than four of the last six majors with the World Grand Prix, Champions League of Darts, World Series of Darts Finals and the Players Championship Finals, giving a clear signal to the World Cup. the competition.

"You have to check", Van Gerwen says with a big smile to NUsport in the Rileys Sports Bar Haymarket in London. "They think they've brought me down and still can't manage to win from me. Well, I don't take it personally. I also sometimes call things I think afterwards: I shouldn't have done that."

"They hope they can catch me with words, but they forget that I have had many years of experience. I have already experienced everything. What interests me then that colleagues say something negative about me. You should also see it as a mental game, it is all part of the darts. "

Michael van Gerwen enjoys Ahoy during his turnout at the Premier League round in Rotterdam. (Photo: PDC / Lawrence Lustig)

"I live generously, spend a lot of money"

Van Gerwen never worried too much. After all, it was certainly not the first time that he was in a somewhat lesser period around the summer - he also performed slightly below par in the previous two years - and moreover, he was struggling with some private problems this year.

"If you play so many tournaments, there is always a period in which things go a bit less. Yes, I was out early on the World Matchplay and the World Cup of Darts, but then I picked it up well. Well, I don't like it very exciting. The outside world has made too much of a thing out of it. I often have a summer break in the summer. "

Van Gerwen has since won everything that can be won. Two months ago, after a long wait, he picked up the last missing major on his record, the Champions League of Darts. But, as said, the saturation does not yet appear. On the contrary.

"I want to give my children a good future. I can already do that with the prize money that I have earned, but I also live generously. Nice vacation, nice car, nice house. I make a lot of money. And what do you think of that blue letters? You don't want to know what I pay in tax. Mr. Van Gerwen also just has to surrender 52 percent. "

"In addition, I just love to win. It has always been like that. If I used to walk around the fair and I saw a nice bear lying in the vending machines, I would do anything to get it. Then I would throw it like that 30 euros in. I cared that he was in the store for 2 euros. That mentality has brought me so far. "

Michael van Gerwen in ecstasy after winning the world title in 2018, his third in total. (Photo: PDC / Lawrence Lustig)

"There are athletes who need to train even more intensively"

Van Gerwen is on three world titles (2014, 2017 and last year). According to him, there are too few for someone of his stature. He has thirteen fewer than record holder Phil Taylor. But Van Gerwen finds it unrealistic to think that he will end up with the same number as the darts legend who was stopped two years ago.

"I'm not so fond of those lists. I just want as many world titles as possible. I'm not going to get those sixteen from Phil. I'm sometimes teasing Raymond (van Barneveld, ed.) That I want at least one more than he, so six If necessary, I will continue until I am 70. Haha, no. I certainly do not want to go all the way around the age of 50. Maybe another twelve or thirteen years. "

"When I start a tournament and think: oh, I've won it four times, never mind, then it won't work anymore. Of course I don't feel like one day, but then I put myself over it. I'm a privileged person. There are athletes who have to train even more intensively and have less than we do. Then you see that it is sometimes unfairly distributed. "

Van Gerwen starts the hunt for his fourth world title on Friday on the opening day of the World Cup with a match against the winner of the encounter between his countryman Jelle Klaasen and the Northern Irishman Kevin Burness. Earlier on Friday they play the very first game at the Alexandra Palace in London.

See also: The full schedule of the World Cup darts in London