Michael van Gerwen acknowledges that he did not play properly in the first round of the UK Open on Friday evening.

The defending champion, who narrowly beat Scott Mitchell 10-8, sees the late delivery of his new arrows as one of the causes.

"I didn't get the arrows I was playing until 5 p.m. on Thursday," said Van Gerwen at his press conference after the game in Milton Keynes.

"As a result, I didn't even have 24 hours to practice with it. Anyway, it's not just about the arrows, it also has to be good in your head. I have to keep working hard."

Van Gerwen's darts have been a topic of discussion for some time.

The number two in the world switched from an arrow manufacturer last year, but was given permission to use his old darts again after poor performance.

However, they do not bring him the desired result and so he plays at the UK Open - just like last week at two Players Championships - again with arrows from his new manufacturer.

"It's just difficult. I won so many tournaments with my old darts", Van Gerwen explained his longing for 'the old'.

"But to be honest, I have to say that the set isn't going that great either. The grip is getting less and less. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the new manufacturer I'm working with is phenomenal."

Michael van Gerwen wants to assert himself after a difficult period.

Michael van Gerwen wants to assert himself after a difficult period.

Photo: ANP

'Everyone knows I'm the best, even the bookies'

Van Gerwen hopes to show himself again at the UK Open after a lesser period.

De Brabander stranded in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, lost his number one position to world champion Gerwyn Price and already stranded in the second round of The Masters.

"I have something to fight for again and that is a good thing. The confidence is still there and there is more in the tank," says Van Gerwen, who once again said that he thinks himself much better than, for example, Price. and Peter Wright.

"As far as I am concerned, that is not even up for discussion. Even the bookies know, otherwise I would not be the favorite for this tournament. I did not win the World Cup and The Masters and yet I am under pressure. That is quite strange, but that also means that people still have a lot of faith in me. I have that myself. "

Three-time UK Open winner Van Gerwen awaits a showdown with Mensur Suljovic in the second round on Saturday evening.

The PDC tournament, which will be held in Milton Keynes this year due to the corona crisis, will last until Sunday.