Kim Huybrechts is renowned for being one of the most exuberant characters in the game, although the Belgian has candidly admitted that his fiery persona often left him feeling ignored – particularly in his previous Premier League appearances.
The former Players Championship Finals runner-up featured in the Premier League in 2015 and 2017 and despite producing some impressive displays, he suffered elimination on both occasions and has struggled to recapture the form that saw him chosen as a wildcard for the global roadshow.
Huybrechts’ talent is undeniable. Having reached his first major final in 2012, he also landed a sensational nine-darter in defeating Michael van Gerwen at the 2014 Grand Slam, whilst he boasts the second highest average in televised history (121.97) recorded at the 2017 World Cup.
The Belgian is currently ranked outside the world’s top 32 but has endured a tumultuous period away from the board over recent years, following the death of both his mother and father in quick succession, which he admits saw him spiral into depression.
Nevertheless, he made a promising start to the 2020 season with an appearance in a Players Championship semi-final and fresh from signing with new manufacturer Bull’s Darts NL, ‘The Hurricane’ is hopeful of flying back up the rankings.
“My goal is to win a major and I dream of the number one position like every darts player. I’m not saying I’m going to make it but I do have that ambition and big dreams, just like someone like Michael van Gerwen has.
“The day I no longer believe in the highest achievable goals, I have to stop,” the 34-year-old told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf in a recent interview. However, Huybrechts has opened up further about his struggles with acceptance in an interview with RTL7 last week.
“I received a lot of comment about that [his celebrations], both from fellow darters and from supporters. The older guard certainly had a hard time with that. It even went so far that I was completely ignored in the Premier League at the time,” Huybrechts told RTL7.
“I am someone who wants to be liked, so I took that criticism very seriously. If you are someone who can quickly put all that aside, it might be much easier. That is why I decided at that time to do much more on stage.
“However, that didn’t work either, I was no longer myself. Then some people gave me the advice to assert myself again and then I started exaggerating again with cheering.”
The former World Cup of Darts finalist showed glimpses of a revival by thrashing world number four Rob Cross in straight sets at the recent World Championship, although he was subsequently beaten by World Youth champion Luke Humphries in the last 16.
Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC