Marcus Daniell is back in New Zealand’s Davis Cup team

Friday, 19 January 2024

Marcus Daniell is back in New Zealand’s Davis Cup team for next month’s clash with Turkey, but Michael Venus has decided to not play.

New Zealand play Turkey in the World Group I playoffs at the ASB Tennis Arena in Auckland on February 2-3, a showdown that will be shown exclusively on Stuff.

Captain Kelly Evernden has selected Rubin Statham, Ajeet Rai, Daniell, KP Pannu and Finn Reynolds for the team and it’s expected that Daniell will partner Reynolds in the doubles rubber.

Statham will play No 1 in the singles and it’s likely Rai will play No 2, although Pannu’s strong performance in his 6-4 6-4 loss to Max Purcell at last week’s ASB Classic may help his cause.

If Turkey pick their strongest team it will be a tough challenge for New Zealand, as there are four Turkish players ranked inside the world’s top 340, while New Zealand’s top-ranked player is Statham at No 505.

However, Statham has shown numerous times over his career that he’s able to play at a level well beyond his ranking when it comes to the Davis Cup, including his great win over Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas two years ago in Las Vegas to help win that tie.

For Daniell, it will be his first Davis Cup outing since September 2021, when he combined with Venus to defeat South Korea’s Jisung Nam and Minku Song in the World Group first round tie.

Daniell is back playing after a serious knee injury sidelined him for two years, but this is likely to be his last season on the Tour before retiring.

“I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s a winnable tie too,” Daniell said.

“I’ve been at the last couple of ties, but not part of the team, so I’ve missed it and for me, playing for New Zealand is the special thing I can do.

“They are my coolest memories and hopefully I can play a couple of ties this year.”

Venus, who also missed last year’s 3-1 win over Thailand in Invercargill, has decided to return to his home in London after the Australian Open for family commitments.

If New Zealand win the team would advance to a World Group I tie in September, but a loss would result in the team being demoted to World Group II, also playing next in September.

Stuff managing director Nadia Tolich said it was exciting to be partnering with Tennis NZ to provide exclusive coverage of the tie.

“Our audience loves live sport. The response to our coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the men’s Rugby World Cup last year was so overwhelming that we couldn’t wait to serve up another exciting event for New Zealand,” Tolich said.

“Riding off the back of a great two weeks of tennis at the ASB Classic, followed by the Australian Open, we are thrilled at Stuff to be able to bring to our audience this Davis Cup tie between New Zealand and Turkey.”

Gareth Archer, Tennis NZ’s commercial and marketing manager said partnering with Stuff will allow tennis fans from around the country to watch the tie for free.

“Tennis New Zealand are excited to be working with Stuff to bring the Davis Cup to Kiwis around the country,” Archer said.

“There’s nothing better than having our national team playing at home and it’s awesome the coverage will be free and accessible for everyone.”

As well as showing all matches live, Stuff will have comprehensive build up to the tie, including a live stream of the draw on Thursday February 1.

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