Exclusive: Dimitri Out of His Bubble

By Paul Woodage 24/07/2021

Dimitri Van den Bergh is preparing to dance his way onto the famed Winter Gardens stage and defend his World Matchplay crown. But another set of - tiny- footsteps will be forefront in the Belgian’s mind before long. With the tournament being staged in Milton Keynes last year, the 27-year old reigning champion is making his debut this month at the iconic Blackpool venue.

Reminiscing on that memorable life-changing week, Van den Bergh said: “Even qualifying for the Matchplay in the first place was a fantastic feeling. But to then win it on my first appearance made me incredibly proud. “I was feeling confident but the win over Adrian Lewis in the quarter-final gave me a massive push and huge self-belief I could go all the way. Then after defeating Duzza [Glen Durrant] in the semi, I was just one step away from the dream. “I remember in the final against Gary [Anderson], it was a very nervy start - neither of us could stay in front. We got to 5-5 then he broke me with a great 130 checkout. Fortunately I won the next leg on his darts with a 170 finish to level at 6-6. That was a huge moment in the match.

“Of course if the fans were there it would have made the experience even better - the atmosphere would have been brilliant. But at the end of the day, it was all about putting the hard work in and getting the win - the fans would have just made it more beautiful. “Winning the Matchplay has definitely changed my mindset and massively boosted my career - especially financially. I’ve started to build on that victory and, as a young kid who likes to save money, prepare for the future.

Lifting a PDC major opens lots of doors and for Van den Bergh, that victory was his gateway into the prestigious Premier League. Despite some excellent performances, the Belgian narrowly missed out on a play-off spot, eventually finishing fifth in the table. However, revelling in the full Premier League experience, he even got the opportunity to dance for the crowd during the final embers of his maiden campaign. Smiling, he said: “Oh it was great to have the fans back - I missed them much more than I thought. I was that excited on the first night with a crowd, I almost forgot I was there to play darts! “I’d love to do it all again next year - loved every minute of it.”

Van den Bergh may well have to beat a few stablemates if he is going to add more trophies to his CV. One name in particular springs to mind. Not many players are doing what the mesmerizing José De Sousa is doing on an oche right now. Speaking about the Portuguese maestro and his good friend, Van den Bergh said: “To be honest, none of us in the company are surprised with how well José is doing. Right now, nothing can go wrong for him. It’s insane what’s happening to his game lately - the boss has done great recently! I just hope the rest of us can do as well as José.” Of course the boss Dimitri is referring to is Mac Elkin - also manager to Glen Durrant.

Unfortunately, Duzza has been struggling with form since picking up the Premier League title last year but Van den Bergh is in no doubt that his mate will bounce back. “I believe in Glen. He has the game and is a battler. It’s a bit sad to see him not in the greatest spirits but he’s already told me that he isn’t finished yet. “He’s ‘The Duzza’ and has shown just how good he is. You don’t win the Premier League on one single night and he was brilliant throughout it all last year.”

Currently sharing a house with Aussie Damon Heta and his wife Meaghan, Dimitri doesn’t have to look very far to find a decent practice partner. Laughing, he said: “He wins far too much for my liking but I’m getting there! Damon is ridiculously good in practice and already has a Players Championship to his name - it won’t be long before he is lifting television titles.”

Their home is going to have another resident very soon. On the 7th December, Dimitri and girlfriend Evi are expecting the arrival of a little Miss DreamMaker - and they couldn’t be any prouder. It may well be a magical Christmas if the Belgian can add a World Championship crown to the birth of his new baby daughter. That would be the ultimate dream.

-------ENDS------
Lead Image : L Lustig / Darts World

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