Darts professional Florian Hempel on the World Cup in London: “There is no better feeling”

Since Tuesday evening (December 21st, 2021) Germany has a new hope for darts with Florian Hempel. The 31-year-old from Cologne defeated the number five in the world, Dimitri van den Bergh, in the match of his life in London. His path now seems open – Hempel is also expected to have a possible quarter-finals, which no German has yet reached at a World Cup.

The former handball player only got into darts four years ago. After Hempel in a WG Having thrown a few arrows, the enthusiasm for the sport kindled. The first tournaments followed in Cologne, which eventually took him to the big stage in London Alexandra Palace have led.

In an interview with the Sportschau, Hempel speaks about the atmosphere on the largest darts stage in the world.

Sportschau: The World Cup is a very special event for you. They play in front of 3,000 people at Alexandra Palace. How do you experience the atmosphere there?

Florian Hempel: It’s huge. The mood is phenomenal. It’s just fun to go on stage, to soak up that atmosphere.

One could be intimidated by such a crowded hall. How are you doing there?

Hempel: That pushes me. To be honest, I’m a professional athlete. I think if you’re in professional sport and can’t play in front of a crowd, then you shouldn’t. There is no better feeling than walking up there and having the crowd behind you.

Her opening song has also become better known in London, “Kölsche Jung” by Brings. Can the British sing along yet?

Hempel: Yes indeed. On the second walk the guys were there for the chorus. I think I’ll play two or three more times, then the boys will be there with them.

Peter Brings [Anm.: Musiker der Kölner Band Brings] has already said: “I could well imagine serenading Florian Hempel when he becomes world champion”. Will you deserve this chance?

Hempel: Everyone who is here wants to win their games. And the bottom line is that everyone wants to become world champions. But there are a lot of good guys here. Of course, I would be happy if Peter came by. But maybe we can still negotiate and say that it doesn’t necessarily have to be the title (laughs).

They won’t play again until Monday. How do you plan the days until the next match, are you currently in a bubble?

Hempel: We have no lockdown, we are not in a bubble and we can move freely. But we don’t go out great either because we say “Corona is everywhere here and we want to stay healthy and keep playing”.

Christmas is just around the corner and you will have to be patient, do not play until Monday. How will your Christmas turn out?

Hempel: I just hope now that Gabriel Clemens will win his game tonight and then we’ll make ourselves comfortable here together.

Your wife is also there. Were you so smart and did you get the presents beforehand?

Hempel: That wasn’t that important (laughs). Well, I’ve had to extend the hotel three or four times. Presents have to wait.

You have already won £ 25,000 in prize money. There would be 35,000 for the next round. Definitely a goal as a darts professional?

Hempel: The prize money is of course always nice and a nice side effect. The important thing is that I’m in the top 64 now and where I want to be by the end of next year. And of course that gives a boost.

Your next opponent, Raymond Smith, isn’t that well known. What can you expect?

Hempel: A tough game. I haven’t really seen his game yet and only know the statistics. He plays a good Avarage and has amazing double odds. I might be the favorite on paper, but he’s a lot more experienced than me and has an extreme fighting mentality. The boy won’t give up. He will want to tear something, he will want to win. So a really tough chunk awaits me.

Stand: 23.12.2021, 11:30

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Darts professional Florian Hempel on the World Cup in London: “There is no better feeling”