Michael van Gerwen is not impressed by Peter Wright’s claims that it is he who should be favourite for the PDC World Darts Championship and that he will break records in the tournament.
Both men are into the semi-finals at Alexandra Palace with Van Gerwen facing Nathan Aspinall and Wright taking on Gerwyn Price in the final four.
Snakebite was in confident mood after a superb display in the quarter-finals, averaging 105.86 in a 5-3 win over Luke Humphries and made some pretty substantial claims after the victory.
‘I’ve got the semis and the final to go and the longer the format goes I’m going to be favourite,’ said Wright.
‘I want to break records, break the 180 record in this tournament, the highest average in this tournament, they’re my targets and I will do that.’
Van Gerwen booked his spot in the semis later on Sunday evening and was somewhat surprised to hear the claims made by the Scot.
‘I don’t know what to answer. He’s very good at saying things all the time,’ said MVG.
‘At the beginning of the year he says he’ll be number one in the world, he’ll be world champion but he never did it in his life.
‘People can say whatever they want but they have to do it, that’s something different.’
Van Gerwen is the bookmakers’ favourite to lift the world title and the Dutchman also holds the record for the highest average in a World Championship match, when he ended on 114.05 in his 2017 semi-final win over Raymond van Barneveld.
Gary Anderson holds the record for most 180s in a single World Championship (71) but one piece of history Wright does hold is the highest broadcast average (123.5) which MVG has always dismissed as it was just streamed on the internet rather than televised.
‘Does he have any records?’ MVG asked. ‘Streamed, when no one was here. Where’s the bottle?
‘No, I love to wind people up, he’s a phenomenal player, don’t get me wrong, but that doesn’t count, you have to do well in the upcoming days, that’s the most important thing.’
Van Gerwen has dismissed this record in the past, telling Live Darts in November: ‘It wasn’t televised, it was a floor tournament.
‘It doesn’t really annoy me, there was no crowd there, there was nothing to really perform in front of.
‘I think televised is televised, it’s nothing to do with the internet, that’s just my opinion and who am I? Just a dart player.’
The world number one has also been disparaging of Wright’s mental toughness when it comes to facing him on the oche.
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Snakebite has lost seven major finals to MVG, most recently in the Champions League this year, when the Dutchman openly questioned his intestinal fortitude.
‘I think he bottles it every time he plays me, I think he’s a bit scared of me, is it because of my looks or my ability?’ Van Gerwen said.
‘I’ve got a lot of potential above them [other players]. Peter Wright, every time I play them they get nervous, I just need to make sure I do my own thing in the right moments and put them under pressure.
‘I keep fighting, I never give up, you need to show your balls.’
MVG takes on the Asp and Snakebite plays the Iceman on Monday evening.