Peter Wright ‘not sorry’ for Van Gerwen after Covid ended rival’s world title bid

Peter Wright has no sympathy for Michael van Gerwen after the Dutchman’s world championship hopes were ruined by coronavirus.

Van Gerwen was forced to withdraw before his third-round match after testing positive for Covid-19 and went on to criticise the Professional Darts Corporation for its handling of the situation. He was one of a number of players who had to pull out because of the virus, which threatened to derail the tournament.

But the show went on and Wright took advantage of Van Gerwen’s absence to win his second world title, beating Michael Smith 7-5 in Monday’s final at Alexandra Palace. Following his victory, Wright has said Van Gerwen’s problems were brought on by himself.

“Obviously I don’t feel sorry for him,” Wright said. “I am sorry for the tournament and his fans, but everyone had their own choice to look after themselves where they decided to do whatever they did. If they are not keeping themselves totally safe it’s down to them.

“We have managed to do it and other players have,” the 51-year-old added. “He will learn from that. We will see him back and he will be in a proper place next year where there is no chance of anybody getting near him.”

Wright knows that his task of winning a second world crown, adding to his 2020 success, would have been harder had Van Gerwen been there. The Scottish player beat Van Gerwen in the 2020 final and accepts he has taken advantage of the three-time world champion’s level slipping and the retirement of Phil Taylor.

“Would I have been this good if Phil was still around? I don’t know,” Wright said. “If Michael was on form that we know him for? I’d put myself maybe in the top five. Nowhere near as good as MVG and Phil Taylor.

“Without darts, I’d probably be working in a garage, fitting tyres and exhausts, doing services and stuff. It was a good job, I enjoyed it, it kept me fit. I didn’t have a tyre here. I had proper tyres to fit on cars. Not the one round my belly.”

Wright also told BBC Scotland that he toasted his victory over Smith with a Pot Noodle. “No celebrations at all – just a nice cup of tea and a Pot Noodle – the new sticky rib one.”

“It’s really special [to win two world titles], as people in the beginning took me as a joke, a clown, a guy who dresses ridiculous and has silly hair,” Wright added. “I’ve made them realise he can play darts as well as look silly!”

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