Mighty Michael Van Gerwen has blasted that he’s still “hungry” to dominate for another DECADE.
The mean, green winning machine opted out of the lockdown online PDC Home Tour to dedicate time to his new son and practice.
In his absence there’s been an awful lot of chat from rivals that his rule at the top of the sport could be on the slide.
But MVG has dismissed any such talk. He told the Sky Sports podcast: “Of course I want to play darts but I didn't really fancy it. That is my own opinion and everyone thinks differently about it. Other people like to do it, but I don’t.
“I practice a lot with Vincent van der Voort, who is a very good friend of mine. We had a lot of battles and I think for myself, that's better preparation than the Home Tour, so that is why I chose not to play the Home Tour. It's for myself and nobody else.
"Practice has been going well, really good to be fair. Lots of people competed in the Home Tour so you know if they're playing well or not so well, but nobody knows anything about me, but I can tell you now, nothing has changed, trust me.
"Of course I'm going to come back with a bang. What I noticed is that I really missed playing on the highest level and that was a good sign to myself. 'Hey, I'm still hungry to win more titles.' I still want to be the best for another five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years.”
This charming Dutchman, ever the consummate professional has been an incredible leader for the sport.
He removed Phil Taylor from the throne of World No.1 when he became World Champion in 2014.
MVG is undoubtedly the man to beat, the yardstick, racking up 54 televised titles and 77 other ranking events.
Yet he was still under huge scrutiny when he switched to Winmau at the start of the year until he won the last major played, the UK Open.
He added: "There was a lot of talk about me. I moved over to Winmau, my new sponsor and darts manufacturer. There were a lot of question marks behind my name until I played the UK Open.
“I played a phenomenal tournament over there, smashed everyone up and that gave me a lot of confidence. You need to believe in your ability, to know where your strengths and weaknesses are. I don't have many weaknesses I know that.
“I always say you need to invest in something and you need to give yourself some time and that is exactly what I did and it worked out quite well.”
It was announced on Friday that five Players Championship events are set to be held behind-closed-doors at Milton Keynes' Marshall Arena from July 8-12, subject to the UK Government's quarantine policy on overseas visitors.
With the World Matchplay also set to go-ahead on July 18, it also seems increasingly likely that will be held at the Marshall Arena rather than the iconic Winter Gardens.
Incredibly, Van Gerwen has failed to go beyond the quarter-finals at the Matchplay since winning in 2016.
He added: “At this stage nobody knows if you are going to play with a crowd or without a crowd. If I had to gamble I would say it will be without a crowd.
“This is bigger than darts. This is about what is going to happen for the rest of the world. I am just a person in this scenario.
“If I can travel, I will be there. I didn't perform well in the last two years at the World Matchplay. I have got nothing to defend at all so I think I might be hungry for that title.”
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)
Pics by Taylor Lanning