Raymond van Barneveld has admitted that he’s ‘feeling emotional’ ahead of his return to the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam this evening. The five-time world champion received arguably the reception of his career in last year’s inaugural Premier League visit to Rotterdam, and he’s relishing the prospect of performing on home soil once more.
“It was incredible in Rotterdam last year and I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently. I could never have expected it to be like it was last year and it’s going to be even better this year,” Van Barneveld claimed.
Barney currently sits in sixth position on the Premier League table, just one point outside the play-off places. The 49-year-old secured an invaluable victory against his compatriot Jelle Klaasen in Glasgow last week to ease his relegation fears, whilst victory tonight will confirm Van Barneveld’s Premier League safety.
The Den Haag ace faces world number two Gary Anderson tonight, but Barney maintains that he’s determined to enjoy the occasion, irrespective of the result. “I’ll be playing in my orange shirt, and if I start thinking about it I get emotional! Gary’s a tough competitor but I’ll enjoy it this week and I’m more relaxed now.”
Van Barneveld has played arguably some of the best darts of his career over the last six or seven months, reaching the quarter-finals or better in his last five televised ranking events. This has seen him return to the world’s top eight for the first time since 2013, but Barney insists that he is no longer putting pressure on himself.
“I’ve said to myself that I won’t put pressure on myself any more, just enjoy the crowds, enjoy that I’m a popular player and to try and make myself proud. Of course I’m not happy if I lose, but I want to think in a positive way; I’m a five-time World Champion and still in the top eight in the world after 33 years,” The Dutchman proudly stated.
Van Barneveld also revealed to the Dutch Media that he is set to become a grandfather for the second time in November, as his daughter Patty is expecting her second child. “Yes, I am for the second time grandpa. Fantastic isn’t it?” Barney beamed. Could this brilliant news be the perfect tonic for Grandad Barney in Rotterdam?
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Betway Premier League
Night Seven – Thursday March 16
James Wade v Jelle Klaasen
Peter Wright v Dave Chisnall
Raymond van Barneveld v Gary Anderson
Kim Huybrechts v Adrian Lewis
Phil Taylor v Michael van Gerwen