Gerwyn Price despairs of the spirits he summoned
World number one Gerwyn Price fails sensationally at the World Cup of Darts because of Gabriel Clemens. And for himself. The public’s brutal treatment of the Welshman may actually be questionable. But the anti-hero is partly responsible for all of this.
Dhe second match of the night between Michael van Gerwen and Chris Dobey hadn’t even started when an Instagram story of the loser from the opener made the rounds. Gerwyn Price spoke in writing. “It’s been so frustrating to play all year to prepare for this one tournament. I’m so disappointed that I wasn’t cleared to play, but good luck to everyone who is still playing,” his statement began, per a second sentence that should be understood as a clear public criticism of Alexandra Palace. This had sided with Gabriel Clemens and therefore at least played a role in the sensational 1:5 in the World Cup quarter-final against Germany’s number one from the former world champion’s perspective.
Price upped the ante with an unusual call for a player of his caliber. “I’m not sure I’ll play in this event again,” he concluded. Has the 2021 world champion just hinted at a boycott of the most important tournament of the year, which, with a prize of £500,000 for the winner, has more prize money than any other event and is therefore elementary for the calculation of the world ranking? Did Gabriel Clemens really end his opponent’s World Cup career?
German darts experts did not believe the statement. “It’s not to be taken seriously,” commented Robert Marijanovic on Sport 1. “It’s about way too much prize money. You can’t skip the World Cup if you’re a professional,” Elmar said. Paulke on DAZN. But even if written out of emotion, immediately after the bitterest defeat of the year: the sentences are a deep insight into the mental life of the frustrated Welshman, who will thus lose his supremacy in the world rankings.
The self-proclaimed “Grinch”
Since his switch from rugby to darts in 2014 and later his growing sporting successes, which began with a final at the UK Open in 2017, Price has had to come to terms with the image of the unloved anti-hero, which he largely attributes to himself. Statements such as “A few years ago I was still a rugby player, today I take the darts professionals’ money out of pocket” and the associated self-assessment as a “Grinch” have also been little received by fans as the eccentric bursts of joy or the flexing of muscles.
Moreover, the “Iceman” in the gentlemanly sport of darts has hardly been too good for a grand declaration of war in the direction of his competitors in recent years, but also for almost no scandal on stage. During his Grand Slam victory in 2018, he clashed on stage with Gary Anderson, something like the Anti-Price in the way he spoke on stage, including a bump after a round that he had won. After a Premier League game in 2019 against Daryl Gurney, security had to step in and break up the feuds.
In the same competition and year, he refused to shake hands with opponent James Wade, again after a mind-blowing 2020 World Cup semi-final loss by Price to Peter Wright. Last year he followed up the 4-5 win over Michael Smith in the quarter-finals with a cryptic message saying ‘cheaters’, Price was obviously unhappy with a fan shouting into his shots. These are just a few excerpts from the Price scandal file.
His way of dealing with antipathy has changed
The 37-year-old received the receipt every time he even entered a stage. In the vast majority of cases, fans cheered on his performances with whistles and boos on principle. “I don’t mind. They can throw beer or coins at me, spit on me. I wouldn’t mind,” he said in the 2021 WELT interview.
But Price’s handling of the negativity he encountered has changed markedly. While the antipathy seemed to push him to do his best at the time, the constant subject of the public became a burden on Price. The “Iceman” was looking for support and did not miss an opportunity to remind the fans of this. It was only after his World Cup opener against Luke Woodhouse that he wished “the public were a little friendlier to me”.
In the game against Clemens, in which the audience was not particularly negative, but consisted either of German fans or of people who wanted to see Price lose, his dislike of Ally Pally, which was still seething anyway, peaked, including those who were not well disposed towards him The spectators in the bizarre performance with headphones in the fifth movement. But even with fans who, from his point of view, finally calmed down, Price didn’t find his game. He lost the sentence. Just like the game. And the version on Instagram.
Because the brief statement from her story has now been deleted, along with all messages and the profile picture. Price appears to be taking a public break. At the Masters (January 27 to 29), the first major tournament after the World Cup, attention will again be focused on him. The boos shouldn’t be quieter after the bizarre World Cup appearance.
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