Raymond van Barneveld will continue playing throughout the remainder of 2019 after reconsidering his decision to bring forward his planned retirement.
The five-time world champion announced last November that 2019 would be his final year on the professional circuit, with the 2020 World Championship in December marking his final tournament as a professional.
Nevertheless, the legendary Dutchman endured a disappointing Premier League double-header in Rotterdam which saw him condemned to elimination in his 14th and final season, which prompted him to announce that he intended to retire with immediate effect.
The 51-year-old has enjoyed a glittering career spanning three decades, having scooped 29 PDC titles since switching codes in 2006. Despite this, he’s slipped to 30th on the PDC Order of Merit over recent months, following an early exit at the recent World Championship.
However, the Dutchman reached his first Pro Tour since 2015 just a fortnight ago, which has given him a huge boost in his bid to qualify for the World Championship at Ally Pally.
Despite this, Van Barneveld has experienced a turbulent few months away from the oche following the break-up of his marriage to wife Silvia, and Barney has reconsidered his future since his emotional farewell on Thursday night at the Ahoy Arena.
In a statement released via the PDC on Friday, Van Barneveld said: “For months my life has been a rollercoaster of emotions. In my private life there have been so many troubles, and as a dart player you try not to but you take all that with you on stage.
“I was humbled that I was given the chance to play in the Premier League this year and really wanted to show everybody the true Barney, but it was only glimpses that I could give.
“My personal problems got the better of me and I was always catching up to my opponents on stage. Yesterday all those emotions came together and I couldn’t handle that at that moment.
“I felt ashamed on stage in front of my family, my friends and the Barney Army. I felt I let everyone down and that pain was very hard to deal with. In the heat of the moment I only wanted to never feel that again, but I realise that I should not speak out like that when I feel such raw emotion.
“I want to end my career at Alexandra Palace during one final World Championship. I hope people understand the difficult times my family and I have been going through and I need to get my head together. I will take a couple of days off for this and then try to compete as well as I can in the floor tournaments out of the spotlight in the coming weeks.”
Van Barneveld, who currently occupies fifth spot on the provisional Pro Tour Order of Merit list for the World Championship, is set to return to action in next weekend’s Players Championship double-header, whilst he’s also qualified for April’s German Darts Open in Saarbrucken.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC