29 Jan, 2021
Players

It has been over a year since we last saw darting legend Raymond van Barneveld throw a dart professionally. Now the 5x World Champion is set to come out of retirement and make a return to the game.

The Dutchman will compete at the European Q School next month in a bid to win back his PDC Tour Card.

A new start means new attire, and so to mark the darting ace return, Raymond worked with the team at Target to create his comeback top. Featuring an iconic tiger, there is no mistake who this shirt belongs to.

What inspired the design of your new player shirt?

The thought behind the shirt is simple, my walk on song is 'Eye of the Tiger' by Survivor so my team and I knew we wanted to align with that. As soon as we saw this tiger image, we knew it was right.

I wanted a new shirt where I felt renewed and felt good wearing. I love the colour black and I am very happy with the result. I hope my fans love it as much as I do.

What made you want to make a comeback to darts?

Due to coronavirus, I went from having a having a 100% to a 0% darts life. I miss the game, the supporters and my colleagues. I have the greatest fan base so it will be amazing to play in front of them again. In the past year I have had a lot of time to reflect on things and something inside me tells me it is not over just yet. I feel that there is something I must still do.

How do you think you will fair against the other players?

I think that I will do well as I have been practicing hard every day. I am using the brilliant 8 Flight system and my new shirt looks amazing which all makes me feel more confident.

How are you feeling ahead of Q School?

I have never played in Q-School as it did not exist when I joined the PDC back in 2006. I have been told that it is not easy and there are so many talented dart players competing from all over the world. But, as a five-time World Champion, I have a goal and I am confident I will succeed in getting a PDC tour card.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Winning my first World Championship in 1998 and putting darts on the map in Holland - I became a celebrity which has lasted over 23 years! Darts is still a hot sport in the Netherlands and that makes me very proud.

Is there any moment you regret in your career?

Telling my fans two years ago that I was giving up as this is not like me. I love to battle and to fight until the very end but because of that decision, I must now start from scratch. At that time, I was not myself and the last year has made me realise how great the sport of darts is. Thinking about the game gives me a warm feeling and I cannot wait to come back and show how good I am.

You are already a 5 x World Champion; what more do you believe you can achieve with your comeback?

If you believe, you can do whatever you want. Thanks to my great sponsors, management team and the best darts manufacturer in Target, I am sure I will succeed in winning tournaments again. My focus right now is to get a Tour Card and my goal after that will be to qualify for the World Championship 2022.

What do you think will be the most difficult part of returning to darts?

The most difficult part will be the ongoing COVID situation and the uncertainty it brings. I am working hard now to come back with no guarantees on what is going to happen. The PDC however is doing an amazing job for our sport and so hopefully we can play the game we all love soon.

What are you looking forward to most with your comeback?

Playing TV tournaments again and meeting the fans as they are the best part of the sport. Playing for my supporters is the best feeling ever and when they sing 'Barney Army' that just feels amazing. I cannot wait for that to happen again.

What have you changed about your game since being away?

I am playing with my new Generation 3 dart with the 8 Flight shaft and flights system which simply works for me - it is a perfectly balanced setup. As well as this, I have been practicing Monday to Friday, 4 hours a day, as well as working hard on my fitness.

How do you think darts has changed since being away?

More players from all over the world are becoming better and better. We saw Jose de Sousa from Portugal and Dimitri Van Den Bergh from Belgium winning majors on TV last year. These are just two of a whole bunch of up-and-coming players winning big events - it gives everyone the hunger, desire and belief to win.

Do you have a message for your fans?

I hope one day I can make you all proud of me again, I cannot wait to be playing for you and giving you the results that you deserve. You are simply the best fans a player like me can ever dream off!

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