'Come out and see the best player in the world'
MICHAEL van Gerwen has encouraged Melbourne darts fans to get out and see the best player in the world when the World Series of Darts rolls into Hisense Arena on Friday.
The Dutch master was in fine form on and off the board after wrapping up his first Auckland Masters title on Sunday night at Trusts Arena with an imperious 11-4 victory over fellow Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld.
He was in determined mood in Auckland and as he got set to be re-united with his wife Daphne and daughter Zoe, who celebrated her first birthday on Monday in the Victorian capital, he promised some more top darts as the World Series continues Down Under.
"Phenomenal crowds," van Gerwen answered when asked what he wanted from this week's event and the following weekend's Brisbane Masters at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
"They have to see me. If they want to see the best player in the world, then they have to come out this week and next week.
"I haven't done too well in Australia and New Zealand before.
"Last year I couldn't be there, so I want to do well.
"I said to my manager and my wife before, I want to win all three tournaments Down Under and that's my goal."
Van Gerwen was devastating on the final night in Auckland, defeating Peter Wright 10-3 in the semi-final, including
back-to-back finishes of 170 and 164 before easing past van Barneveld in the final.
The two-time world champion was fired up after recent comments from Wright, but ominously warned there was more to come.
"I am at almost 92-93 per cent, but I can still do a lot better than this and everybody knows that," van Gerwen said.
"Peter had a comment about two weeks ago, saying 'Michael is a great player, but he's not a phenomenal player', but I gave the answer this weekend.
"I smashed him like I did probably the last 20 times.
"I need to make sure I do that for the other tournaments as well. I need to make sure I keep everyone under pressure.
"It (Wright's comments) didn't upset me, but it makes me sharper.
"They always try things to try to upset me, but I don't care I just bounce back and give it to them in their face and that's exactly what I did (in Auckland)."
Van Gerwen said he set high goals for himself and would continue to do that as he looked to complete the trifecta of wins on the Oceanic leg of the World Series of darts.
"I am here for work I am here to try and win a tournament and I think I did the right things at the right moments (in Auckland).
"The final wasn't phenomenal but there had to be a winner and I am very glad it was me.
"I have done well this year, I have won 17 tournaments so far, next week 18 the week after 19."
The World Series of Darts is at Melbourne's Hisense Arena from Friday to Sunday before finishing in Brisbane from August 17-19.
Tickets are still available from premier.ticketek.com.au.