Darting legend Raymond van Barneveld has revealed he never wanted to retire, but the 53-year-old Dutchman feels he has been given a second chance at the big time. After playing the likes of Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor for many years, Barney will be among the hundreds of hopefuls at the H+ Hotel in Niedernhausen, Germany.
“In all fairness, I miss it,” Van Barneveld said. “My future when I gave up the game, I was thinking I was going to do exhibitions, I still see my colleagues and I still see the fans and the first three months went okay and then COVID came and it became worse and worse.”
“After three or four months I didn’t have work to do. I didn’t play exhibitions anymore, I didn’t have clinics and I didn’t play tournaments because I was retired and I started missing it,” he added. “I went from 100 per cent attention on TV and press to nothing and I never liked that. I wanted to be involved in the game as an analyst for TV or playing exhibitions and clinics and that wasn’t happening anymore so after a couple of months I felt sad.”
“It was maybe better if I took a sabbatical for one year. I would have kept my Tour Card but now I have to start all over again but I’m pretty sure I can do it,” he continued. “I’m not going to say it’s realistic I can lift the world championship. My first target is to get a Tour Card and that is realistic. It is hard. It’s like starting from scratch. I’m an amateur who will be playing with amateurs and there are a lot of top players there so it won’t be easy. If Dirk van Duijvenbode and Jeffrey de Zwaan can get one why can’t I? There will be players with a 60 average. I don’t know them, but they know me and hopefully, they’ll get really nervous playing me.”