Michael van Gerwen says Gerwyn Price must take some of the blame for the rough ride he gets from fans at Alexandra Palace.
Price was roundly booed at last year’s World Darts Championship and infamously donned a pair of ear-defenders for a set during his quarter-final defeat to Gabriel Clemens. The Ice Man then threatened to boycott the tournament.
While Price didn’t carry through on that threat, he claimed he was on the verge of withdrawing on the eve of his opening match, a 3-0 win against Conor Scutt, on Monday night. The 2021 champion said: “At six o'clock yesterday, I was still in the house and I probably wasn't going to play in the tournament.”
READ MORE: Gerwyn Price admits he almost boycotted PDC Worlds just 24 hours before match
READ MORE: Gerwyn Price wants World Darts Championship to quit Ally Pally for 'level playing field'
In the end, the crowd’s reaction to Price was mixed, with as many cheers as boos. It will be intriguing to see if that remains the case as the tournament progresses.
Van Gerwen also cruised into the third round with a 3-0 over Keane Barry on Tuesday. Asked for his thoughts on Price’s problem with the Ally Pally crowd, the Dutchman said the issue was partly of his rival’s own doing.
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“With respect to Gezzy, he can blame himself a little bit for getting the boos,” said the three-time world champion. “If you keep doing this [cups his ear] to the crowd and things like this, he’s going to get it [the boos] and I keep telling him that.”
Price has also said he would like the Worlds to move away from Ally Pally, an unthinkable prospect for many in the sport. He said: “Can I win it again? Sure… when it goes to Wales, Germany or wherever.
“That's what happens with other sports – their World Cup or World Championship is played in different countries. I think it's only right that the tournament should move to different parts of the world, and then I'll have a better chance.”
However, Van Gerwen is happy for the tournament to remain at the historic north London venue. “I think it’s great here, this venue is iconic,” said the Green Machine. “To go worldwide? I think the PDC is doing good enough with the World Series and things like that.”
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