Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld has issued a statement to reject rumours of his retirement, after a number of articles surfaced in the German media which suggested that he was set to quit the game.
Van Barneveld was denied a third UK Open title after losing 10-8 to Peter Wright in Sunday’s quarter-finals, in one of the greatest games in the competition’s history. Barney performed superbly and averaged 108.10, but Snakebite fought back from 8-7 behind to prevail after averaging 110.88 and landing thirteen maximums.
The five-time world champion was understandably disconsolate after not being rewarded for another magnificent display. However, he took to Facebook this morning to clarify comments he made on Sunday evening, after certain media outlets reported that Barney was poised to quit the game.
He said: “Just to come back to my message on Facebook yesterday. I didn’t say I was going to stop, but I will try to explain what I meant. For 30 years, darts has come in first place, then family then friends. I’ll do anything to get to the best version of myself to be in the hope of winning titles.
“I don’t want to play darts to be just one of the players, I play to win. I realise I can’t always win, but sometimes you just have too much and then I think leave it, don’t sweat it. So what I want to say with my post- I want to enjoy more time with my family and friends.
“Of course I will do anything to win titles, but sometimes the sacrifices are too big; I need more balance. I’m going to try and get myself straight. With the support of the people around me and my loyal fans, I hope to be able to achieve this,” Van Barneveld added.
At the beginning of the year, Van Barneveld confirmed that he would compete more regularly on the Pro Tour in a bid to climb the rankings, and that remains the case. However, RvB may scale down his exhibition commitments in order to enjoy more family time and remain fresh for ranking competition.
Barney has arguably been playing some of the best darts of his career over the last six or seven months. The Dutchman has reached the quarter-finals or better in his last five consecutive TV ranking majors- dating back to the World Grand Prix in October, where he reached the semi-finals.
Van Barneveld also recorded the third highest average in World Championship history in his semi-final defeat to Michael van Gerwen at the Alexandra Palace on New Years Day, having defeated Robbie Green, Alan Norris, Adrian Lewis & Phil Taylor earlier in the tournament.
Only Van Gerwen and Peter Wright have matched Barney’s consistency over recent months, and that’s seen the Den Haag ace climb back inside the world’s top eight on the PDC Order of Merit- his highest ranking position for over three years.
Next up for the legendary Dutchman is a clash with his compatriot Jelle Klaasen in Thursday’s Premier League at the SSE Hydro. Barney is adored by the Scottish darting public and has won a record eight matches in Glasgow; he’ll be hoping to improve upon that incredible record this week.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC