“This is Michael,” barks darts’ world number one when he picks up the phone.
Dutch darts demon Michael van Gerwen is sharp and to the point, much like his playing style, although his shield slips a little when he gets to know you.
The tough veteran has got off to a good start this season after a disappointing PDC World Championships.
“Yeah, I’m feeling very good about the start of the season,” says the 26-year-old. “I won the masters, but then I had a little misstep in the Premier League.
“But after that, I played very well against Gary Anderson and so I did well, winning the tournament in my country last weekend.”
“What happened in the past? You can’t change that anyway”
The Premier League contest van Gerwen refers to saw 2009 champion James Wade come from 3-0 down to win 7-4. The Dutchman hit a 167 checkout as he took an early lead. But van Gerwen was punished for missed doubles in four of the next five legs.
The loss annoys van Gerwen, who naturally for a champion has a strong hatred of losing.
“It was a disaster for myself that I didn’t win, but I didn’t play bad,” he insists.
Van Gerwen is unwilling to analyse the loss too closely, preferring to focus on his next challenge instead. “There’s no point looking back,” he states. “I need to look to the front and look to the future.
“What happened in the past? You can’t change that anyway. So what went wrong, I don’t know. I’m still playing well. I can’t pick out what is wrong, so I need to live with it and continue to play well.”
He certainly is a man that knows his limitations. Van Gerwen has been a natural at darts since he first played at 13, winning a host of junior championships.
But before that, he was apparently a decent schoolboy defender in his hometown, Boxtel. Why didn’t he pursue football more?
Van Gerwen bluntly responds: “I was rubbish at football.”
At least the number one certainly isn’t rubbish at darts.
Loaded sports writer Pearse Corcoran has covered news, sport and entertainment for several national newspapers and radio stations in Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PearseCorcoran