Michael van Gerwen gives retirement verdict in warning to Luke Littler and Luke Humphries | Other | Sport

Michael van Gerwen has insisted that he is ready to fight Luke Littler and Luke Humphries as he looks to re-establish himself as the dominant force in darts. The Dutchman is widely regarded as one of the sport’s greatest players but his standards have slipped over the course of this year.

Van Gerwen wsa unable to secure glory in this year’s Premier League, losing to Humphries in the play-offs at the O2 Arena last month. He has also slipped to 18th place in the Pro Tour rankings, meaning he is no longer a seeded player for European Tour events.

Reflecting on his current situation, he admitted that he is no longer at the peak of his powers but shut down any talk of retirement by insisting that he remains determined to battle Humphries and Littler.

“I can still get back to those standards,” said Van Gerwen. “Is the standard a lot better than what I do now? If you look at the last week, I averaged over 100 I think. Towards the end of the year, I should be reaching my peak point again and that’s what I’m looking forward to.

“I need to make sure I get my chin up and fight. If you want to compete with the best, you have to keep fighting and keep trying to make yourself a better player. If you don’t want to do it then it’s time to retire. You’re always going to have good times in your career and bad times.

“That’s how sport goes. It’s more the question how do you answer it, how do you deal with the situation. I need to make sure I fight my own battles and I will be back, don’t worry.”

Van Gerwen failed to defend his US Darts Masters title earlier this month, crashing out at the hands of eventual champion Rob Cross in the quarter-finals. He missed out on a place in the Dutch Darts Championship final a week earlier, throwing away a 4-0 lead as he was beaten by Jonny Clayton in the last four.

It came after Littler regained the lead over Van Gerwen in the World Series Order of Merit after reaching the semi-finals at the US Darts Masters. The top eight are guaranteed participation in the World Series Finals at the end of the season, with events set to be played in Denmark, Poland, Australia and New Zealand before then.

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