• Premier League Darts

Van Barneveld needed therapy for depression

Rob Bartlett at The O2
May 23, 2014
Raymond van Barneveld had extra motivation to secure his maiden Premier League crown © Getty Images

Newly-crowned Premier League champion Raymond van Barneveld has revealed he needed therapy to get over depression.

Van Barneveld, who was given a wildcard spot in the 10-man competition, defeated defending champion and world No.1 Michael Van Gerwen on Thursday night to claim his maiden title and earn the £150,000 top prize.

"I've had therapy because sometimes I was depressed and didn't feel right. I was on stage thinking 'No'," Van Barneveld said. "I wasn't happy the way I was living. Every single week I was just playing and playing. I didn't like it anymore. Even when they called out my name [on television] I didn't like it.

Taylor: I bottled it against Barney

Phil Taylor is "still learning" © Getty Images
  • Phil Taylor admitted he "bottled" his Premier League semi-final against eventual winner Raymond van Barneveld.
  • Taylor bounced back from losing four of his opening five matches with an 11-game unbeaten run to secure a play-off place, only to go down 8-5 to the Dutchman at London's O2 Arena on finals night.
  • "It was a great achievement to make the semi-finals but I had a massive opportunity there to get into the final against Michael [Van Gerwen] and I blew it," Taylor said.
  • "I can't make excuses, I bottled it. I missed six darts at a double and I was gone. I don't know why. In my head I was thinking that I should be 5-0 up.
  • "I missed doubles and it threw me. It made me nervous and I don't know why - but I'll get myself ready for the next event in Dubai next week.
  • "I've experienced something tonight, after 30 years, that I've never experienced before so I'm still learning. It's a matter of putting it right and moving forward."

"So in January, I said to myself: 'You have to do it differently, like years ago. Ray, you don't have a bad life. People want to be you, they want to be Raymond van Barneveld'.

"I found help. I found therapy and they said 'Ray, you're fantastic. You're a great player, you can do this'. I thought 'Can I?'

"There are 10 players in the Premier League, so the first target was not to get relegated after week nine. If I told you six weeks ago that Simon Whitlock, who I think is a world class player, would be relegated from the top 10, you would have thought I was out of my mind. But two players have to go out after nine weeks, so that was the first target.

"The second target was getting into the top four. The third target was getting in the final and the fourth target was winning the whole thing. I never thought about winning it; maybe in the final I lost all the pressure."

Van Barneveld beat rival Phil Taylor for the first time in 21 attempts on a Premier League stage to reach the final. Previously, he had lost out at the semi-final stage on six occasions. However, the Dutch ace said he had extra motivation this time around.

"Sadly a friend of my sponsor passed away last week," Van Barneveld said. "My sponsor is a really close friend and it was really hard, because yesterday [Wednesday] was the funeral. He was going to come over but in the end said 'Ray, I can't come. I'm not happy, I'm too sad to come to England'. He's a big help and I'll be extremely happy to show him the trophy next week."

The 47-year-old was pleased to finally end his Taylor hoodoo and admitted that, despite having worked hard at his game, a little bit of luck also played its part on the night.

"It felt like a relief, beating Taylor for the first time in the Premier League," Van Barneveld said. "I've worked really hard. I've had some help. But it's all about faith and belief. If you don't believe, you can't achieve anything.

"Even though I lost two games in the last two weeks, against Michael and Gary [Anderson], I still believed I could win this trophy. I was right; hopefully I can come back next year and do it again.

"In the past, I've missed so many doubles against Phil, so many against Michael and Gary - maybe I was lucky tonight. But at the end, who cares? Beating the world No.1 and world No.2 is fantastic. I'm only number 12 in the world you know!

"I still remember nine years ago when I joined the PDC. I got a wildcard from Barry [Hearn] and the PDC to play the Premier League which, after a couple of weeks, I was like 'Wow. This is the best event in the world'.

"It means the world to win it. Winning the world championship and winning the Premier League - those are the best two events. You cannot describe how that feels.

"We took some [promotional] photographs last week. Taylor was there, Gary Anderson was there and Van Gerwen was there and I was thinking 'I'm the only one who hasn't won the Premier League - the other three guys have'. But now I'm the fourth one and I'm extremely happy."

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