Michael van Gerwen continues the defence of his World Grand Prix title against an in-form Devon Petersen on Thursday and ahead of their last 16 clash, the Dutchman had playful words of warning for Wayne Mardle, who has been coaching the South African over recent months.
‘The African Warrior’ has made considerable strides throughout 2020 and clinched his maiden PDC ranking title at the German Darts Championship, and he defied eight maximums from fellow debutant Jose De Sousa to prevail in straight sets in his first round tie on Tuesday.
It’s been well-documented that Sky Sports expert Mardle has been working with Petersen to refine technical elements of his game, but speaking in his post-match interview after defeating Krzysztof Ratajski, Van Gerwen was in jovial mood.
“He’s your boy isn’t he? I always used to be your boy, what’s that all about? Are you cheating on me? I’m going to smash your boy,” quipped MVG – his comments leaving Mardle in hysterics.
Van Gerwen’s average of 98.64 was the third highest of the opening round, bettered only by Dave Chisnall and Simon Whitlock. However, ‘The Green Machine’ will be well aware of the threat posed by Petersen.
The South African edged out Van Gerwen in July’s Summer Series, before whitewashing the world No 1 with an imperious display in last month’s Autumn Series, and with recent victories over Gerwyn Price and Rob Cross to his name, MvG will hold no fear for ‘Dancing Devon’.
“I know the pressure is always on my shoulders, even more so because I didn’t play my A-game in the last few months. Then you have to work harder and put effort in your game,” added Van Gerwen.
“You have to leave things and everyone has to suffer around me, because the only thing for me that counts is to perform well on that stage. I think it went down well today [Tuesday] and I can be proud of myself.”
“I’ve been practising so much with Vincent [van der Voort] on my tops, my finishing, trying to do everything to make sure you start off well. People probably don’t know how much it takes to make sure you change that, you go for it and constantly do it, because it’s not that easy.
“You have to do that because there are a lot of phenomenal players here and you have to play at your absolute best if you want to beat them. I’m over the moon with this performance – simple as that.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Thursday October 8 (1900 BST)
4x Second Round
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Dirk van Duijvenbode
Mervyn King v Simon Whitlock
Gary Anderson v Danny Noppert
Michael van Gerwen v Devon Petersen