Raymond van Barneveld has come down hard on himself following a shock exit to Darin Young which prematurely ended his professional darting career.
The five-time world champ, playing in his final tournament, suffered the first-round defeat to the American and struggled for words when speaking to Sky Sports after the match.
“I’ll never forgive myself,” he said to Rod Studd.
The Dutchman gathered himself before he addressed a press conference moments later, mustering up a more in-depth analysis of his defeat but he maintained the self-critical theme.
“I will hate myself every single day,” he said.
“I never, ever felt comfortable this whole match. I felt really good the last couple of weeks, played really good matches, but the demons won again.
“What did I achieve? Nothing.”
When challenged by the surrounding journalists that he enjoyed a record-breaking career, he dismissed it.
“That’s in the past. I can’t live with myself from this point, never ever,” he continued.
“Losing the last two years in the first round, then you’re an amateur. You don’t belong in this game.
“I don’t belong at this high level any more. That’s how I feel. That’s what I tell myself for the rest of my life.”
In the weeks leading into the Ally Pally tournament, he felt his preparation was up to scratch:
“For the last couple of months it was OK,” he reflected. “I played well in the World Series, played really good in the Players Championship Finals.
“I felt comfortable, I played really good last weekend against Simon Whitlock. I was really focusing, and really thought I was going to do this.
“I don’t know what I could have done more…not playing exhibition games, practising more, I had a practice with Jeffrey de Zwaan. We couldn’t do this, because Jeffrey was obviously a second-round match. I tried to practice with Jermaine Wattimena but he couldn’t do it, because he was playing in the afternoon.
“Then we went to Max Hopp, but Max Hopp couldn’t do it because he was ill. So a lot of the time, we try to play the board. But boards don’t hit back.
“If you play the board, you don’t feel the pain. You have to play real opponents and we never did it.”
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Reacting in the Sky Sports studio, Wayne Mardle expressed his surprise at the shock result.
“I feel for him so much, because when he’s achieved what’s he’s achieved, you’ve been one of the biggest names in the game ever, to end on a little whimper like that is not very pleasant,” said the pundit.
“It’s not about ‘I remember losing at the 2020 World Championship’, it should be ‘I remember winning’, ‘I remember doing this’, ‘I remember winning Premier Leagues and Grand Slams and living the life’. That’s what he should remember.
“But right now, it’s a down period for him. He’s got to just think all good things come to an end. Right now he’ll be so disappointed. Unfortunately life goes on, the sun will rise in the morning.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t to be his day. Credit to Darin Young. He didn’t read the script, he couldn’t care less. The one he was handed, he tore it up and threw it away.”
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