WORLD NUMBER ONE Michael van Gerwen revealed his pain following his third round exit from the World Darts Championship at the hands of Dutch rival Raymond van Barneveld but believes it will make him stronger.
The pre-tournament favourite, who was odds on to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy for the second time ahead of his clash with ‘Barney’, crashed out with a 4-3 defeat despite an average of almost 106 – the highest ever losing average in a World Championship match.
And the 2014 Alexandra Palace winner admitted that it was a painful defeat to take.
He said: “This hurts so much. Raymond played well but I missed too many important shots at the wrong times. I wanted this so much. It is the World Championship and I would give up every other title just to win this one.
“All I can do now is dust myself down, get back on the practice board and prepare for next year. I will come back stronger from this but right now it hurts a lot. I’ve had such a fantastic year until now and I want to thank everyone who has helped me and supported me – my fans, my sponsors, my friends and my family. I will use this to come back even better for them.”
van Gerwen back on TV screens to defend his Masters title on January 30-31.