Raymond van Barneveld “I feel reborn”
Less than a few days until the 2021 PDC Q-School begins, and the comeback of the five-times champion of the world Raymond van Barneveld. All eyes will be on van Barneveld in Niedernhausen, as he aims to reclaim the tour card that he gave up in 2020.
After only eight months of retirement, RvB announced that he intended to come back in 2021. van Barneveld stating that he needed redemption after a disaster of a farewell year in the sport.
Speaking to the PDC, van Barneveld explains why he changed his mind about retirement and how he knew he had made a mistake.
“I was hating myself so much because of that last year. The last 10-12 months for me were good to acknowledge what happened,
“I started to look back in my career. Sometimes these were really emotional moments with tears in my eyes. Kissing my grandson in the walk-on in the Premier League in Rotterdam, giving him my necklace. I couldn’t handle it.
“Wow, it meant something to me, to be there for all these fans throughout the world. Everywhere they came up, they all love Barney. I started to believe in that. Wow, do I miss this or what? The warm feeling from the crowd.
“They are singing and always backing me. I think: ‘What did I turn to the dark side?’ This is wrong. I became depressed, a nightmare for players, always down, always talking bad about myself. And I don’t know where that came from.
“I was watching these videos thinking ‘oh my God what happened’. Even when I played so bad, they (the fans) were always there. Those moments I cherish. I have the feeling I want to do something back for them.
“I have the feeling that I still need to prove something back to the crowd because the way I walked off was a shame. They didn’t deserve that.
“But the old devil comes in my head, and I just say things in front of the camera which I shouldn’t have done. I regret that. It happens.
“Now I feel good, I feel reborn, I have my focus back. I cannot wait to start playing darts again.”
Preparation for van Barneveld
van Barneveld says preparation has been great, but with no competitive action since that fateful night at Alexandra Palace, it remains to be seen where RvB’s game really is.
“I cannot wait. I am practising five times a day now, from 9am to 2/3pm. Every day we play darts, work out in the gym, or outside, we do fitness,” Van Barneveld continued.
“We take it really seriously. I have never played Q School before. It is straight from the bottom and I don’t know what to expect, how many talented players are there, what the level is, I can only look at my own level.
“I am playing really good darts at the moment, the most important thing is in my head I am back.
“I don’t think about: ‘What else? What if I don’t get a Tour card?’ I am going to get a Tour card. That is it.’ I don’t think about anything else. You need to believe in it, work hard for it. This is what we do right now.
“I know a couple of guys from my home town who got a Tour Card and they will play as well. They are really good local players, they are tough to beat. If I play my normal game or A game, I don’t believe they can stop me.”