Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld insists he will fight to retain his place in the world’s top 16 and claims he would compete in more Pro Tour events next year in a bid to preserve his status in the darting elite.
The legendary Dutchman is currently ranked 14th on the PDC Order of Merit and faces a defining couple of months, with a substantial amount of ranking prize money to defend in the remainder of the season.
Van Barneveld reached the final of January’s Unibet Masters before winning his fourth World Cup title with Michael van Gerwen in June. Barney was also beaten by MvG in the final of the Auckland Darts Masters during the summer, but all three tournaments are non-ranked events, therefore they do not contribute towards the Order of Merit.
The 51-year-old won’t be featuring in next week’s European Championship or November’s Players Championship Finals, therefore he must perform well in both the Grand Slam and World Championship to maintain his spot in the top 16. However, speaking to LiveDarts TV, RvB admitted he is well aware of the task in hand.
“I have to defend a lot of money; £140,000 in the next two or three months, if I don’t do well I go out of the top 16 and we have to work harder next year. If you drop out of the top 16, you don’t play the Matchplay or the Grand Prix so you have to go back to the Pro Tours and Euro Tours.
“I hope I still can have a good run in the Worlds and the Grand Slam of Darts because I’ve not qualified for the Euros and the Players Championship Finals. Choices; it’s all about choices and hopefully next year I’m going to play more.”
Van Barneveld notoriously produces his best at the Alexandra Palace, having reached the semi-finals of the World Championship in four of the last six years, and the Den Haag ace admitted he’s been practising meditation ahead of this year’s darting showpiece.
The Dutchman said:“The Worlds is always different for me. I’ve already started focusing on the World Championship now, like I’m doing meditation. It’s the big thing in the calendar.
No other tournament in the world compares to that one, everyone in the world is watching, everybody is sitting in front of their TV for Christmas and it’s the best thing you can get in darts. I know that and I’m preparing myself very hard every year to have a good result up there.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
NB: The full version of Live Darts’ interview with Raymond van Barneveld is available to view below.