Jeffrey de Graaf is not a new name in darts, however he will be new face on the Nordic and Baltic Pro Tour, when the season starts in Denmark this weekend.
From 2016 until 2018 he had a PDC Tour Card. He qualified for the UK Open and Players Championship Finals in 2016, meaning he secured himself a spot at the 2017 World Darts Championship in Alexandra Palace.
The name is Jeffrey de Graaf and even though he comes from the Netherlands, he will compete at Nordic and Baltic Pro Tour this year, as he has got himself a Swedish citizenship after living in the country for years.
“It was difficult for me to move to Sweden. I tried to move back in 2016 when I had a Tour Card, but since I didn’t work in Sweden and had no income in Sweden, I couldn’t get my person number. However, I finally succeeded to get my person number in 2018 and officially moved from Holland,” Jeffrey de Graaf tells pdc-nordic.tv.
But even though Jeffrey de Graaf has been playing on the biggest stages in the darting world, he admits, that his level has been better back in the days. So it did not come as a shock, when he did not manage to get at Tour Card at Q-School earlier this year.
“Of course I was dissapointed, even more since i didn’t even make it to the final days, while two years ago I qualified for it on the first day of Q-school. But I did not expect to get a Tour Card since i haven’t been playing much in the last four years. So after six months of training it would have been naive to think that I was good enough to be a pro again.”
Now Jeffrey de Graaf can look forward and focus on the Nordic and Baltic Pro Tour. Something he has looked forward to for a couple of years now.
“I have been looking forward to play on the PDC Nordic & Baltic Tour for many years. But I couldn’t play earlier since I didn’t move to Sweden before 2018. From the moment I moved to Sweden in, I wanted to play on the tour.”
And even though Q-School was not that big of a success, Jeffrey de Graaf still has big ambitions for the Nordic and Baltic Pro Tour.
“My ambition is defenitly to qualify for the Worlds. No matter where I play I’m going for the win, but lately I’m far away from winning, considering how Q-school and the Challenge Tour went.”
However Jeffrey de Graaf is not fully sure of what to expect on the tour.
“Of course I know all the players from Sweden, I know Denmark has good dart players walking arround. From Finland I don’t know that many, but the few that I know are good, although I’m not sure if they still play. Same as in Norway, they have a couple of good dart players but for the rest I don’t really know what to expect from.”
Biggest man on the tour is back
The Nordic and Baltic Pro Tour will also see another familiar face this year, as Cor Dekker will be back on the tour for the first time since 2019. But why have we not seen him for the last three years?
“I lost motivation, so I decided not to play for a while and then came covid 19. I was unable to travel because of the restrictions we had in Norway. If you left the country and came back you had to sit in quarantine for 14 days, so it was not an option,” Cor Dekker tells pdc-nordic.tv.
But even though he has not been playing on the Nordic and Baltic Pro Tour for three years, according to himself, it is a better Cor Dekker we will see this season.
“I’m feeling more confident now after the WDF Europe Cup in Spain where I played some of my best games. So, I think my level is a little bit better than the level I had then.”
Cor Dekker has also been living in the Netherlands earlier in his life, ans therefore he knows Jeffrey de Graaf and welcomes him on to the Nordic and Baltic Pro Tour.
“It will be nice to see him again as I know him from the time I lived in the Netherlands and played darts against him. I know he plays at a good level, so people should be well prepared when they meet him.”
This season will also be different, as a new set of rules for the PDC Tour Card holders and Global Affiliate Tours rules out Madars Razma and Darius Labanaukas for Nordic and Baltic Pro Tour. But Cor Dekker thinks it can be a positive thing for other players.
“It is a pity that they are not allowed to play the Nordic and Baltic Pro Tour. But I think it’s not bothering them, since they have to play a lot of the normal PDC Pro Tour to keep their Tour Card and maybe it would not fit their schedule anyway. For the rest of the Nordic and Baltic players, it’s a great opportunity to climb the ranking as they were top five players.”
The 2023 Nordic and Baltic Pro Tour will start this weekend with two events. Also the weekend will feature three qualifications for the European Tour.