World Darts Championship: Michael van Gerwen ready for title defence
Hear more from MVG in 'Mighty Mike', 7pm Sunday on Sky Sports 1
Last Updated: 12/12/14 12:43pm
Michael van Gerwen has outlined the dramatic change in mentality that turned him from a nervous up-and-comer to a dominant world champion.
The Dutchman was speaking in 'Mighty Mike' - a fascinating Sky Sports Originals documentary that looks back at Van Gerwen's upbringing and ascendancy in darts.
But it has not always been plain sailing and after emerging as a teenage prodigy, Van Gerwen suffered indifferent form until an impressive 2012 saw him improve from world No 38 to No 4.
Now the 25-year-old has addressed that period where it briefly seemed that his potential may ebb away.
He said: "Do you know how many times I fell to the floor on my chin, and needed to stand up again? I lost a lot. I played really bad for three or four years.
"I used to walk in the venue and feel a bit afraid. Afraid to lose. Now I walk in and think ‘I’m going to beat him, simple’. Confident. I think I’m going to rip his head open and rip him to pieces!"
Now the reigning world champion - after becoming the youngest ever champion last year - Van Gerwen is focused and confident as he prepares to defend his title, live on Sky Sports Darts from December 18.
"On current form I think I am the best," he said. "I love what I do and I want to be better. There’s only one thing that counts – winning tournaments."
To hear more from Van Gerwen tune into 'Mighty Mike' this Sunday at 7pm on Sky Sports 1 or download right now On Demand.