Phil Taylor helping Van Barneveld during dream run at Grand Slam of Darts

Raymond van Barneveld revealed he is receiving inspiration from his great rival Phil Taylor after his shock run at the Grand Slam of Darts continued with a momentous quarter-final victory over Gerwyn Price.

The 55-year-old produced one of the most astonishing displays in the tournament’s history to stun reigning champion and world number one Price 16-13 to set up a semi-final showdown against Michael Smith.

Van Barneveld – featuring in his first televised quarter-final since November 2019 – recovered from 8-3 down to send Price packing on an exhilarating Friday night in Wolverhampton. The five-time world champion, who only came out of retirement in February last year, rolled back the years to inflict Price’s first defeat in a knockout tie at the Aldersley Leisure Village.

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Van Barneveld defeated Price in a thrilling group stage tussle earlier in the event, and he repeated the feat to secure his place in a first Grand Slam semi-final since 2015.

After the match, another memorable addition to his storied career, Van Barneveld spoke of the support he has been receiving from Taylor. The pair were arch-rivals during the height of their careers, showing numerous memorable battles.

“He's there all the time,” the Dutchman told reporters. “He's giving me text messages like ‘you can do this buddy, I believe in you’. He doesn't need to do this, he's the best darts player ever.

“We had many fights and many games and he's behind me and that gives me an incredible feeling. I don't want to disappoint this man, my family or future wife. I'm so happy, you can't describe this in words.”

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Almost two years in, Van Barneveld’s comeback has not gone according to plan and he has qualified for just three of 13 European Tour events this year.

However, the big stage has brought the best out of him with his win over Price making him a provisional seed for the upcoming World Championship at the Alexandra Palace.

“I was struggling for many years, but I’m so happy right now. What a feeling,” reflected Van Barneveld, who through to his first ranking semi-final since the 2017 World Championship.

“I’m probably in the top five players of all time along with Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen, Eric Bristow and John Lowe, and everyone knows I can do this. It is all about belief. I love to play darts, I love to play in front of this amazing crowd, and I believe I can win this.”

His next opponent, Smith, won the last three legs to defeat Joe Cullen 16-15 in a thrilling quarter-final.


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