Catching up with Michael Venus
Michael Venus is in Rome for the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, an ATP Masters 1000 event on clay.
He is currently ranked 18th in the world for doubles and he and his British partner, Jamie Murray, are 12th in the world team rankings.
The second Grand Slam of the year is just around the corner – Roland-Garros, the French Open, which Michael won in 2017 with American partner Ryan Harrison.
We caught up with the Kiwi doubles specialist, who has 19 ATP titles to his name, ahead of his opening match in Rome and asked him about his year so far, the road to Roland-Garros, and his partnership with Jamie Murray.
Hi Mike, how are you feeling leading into the Internazionali BNL d'Italia this week in Rome? Body feeling good?
I feel good, we have had some good training here in Rome and are ready to go. We have a tough first match up against the guys who won the French Open last year (Jean-Julien Rojer and Marcelo Arévalo), so looking forward to this match.
With your recent win at the Srpska Open in Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and a quarter-final at the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain, do you feel like your clay season is trending in the right direction as you lead up to Roland-Garros?
We have played quite a few matches on clay now, which is important to be comfortable going into the bigger tournaments. We have played well the last few weeks and are looking to keep building and improving on those. Our focus is on this week, if we keep trying to improve the things we want to, and build on what we have, hopefully when we get to Paris we will be in an even better place.
What parts of your game have you been most pleased with so far this season? Is there a particular aspect of your game that you’ve been working on that is coming together nicely?
I’m 35 almost 36, so there aren't going to be huge changes in my game now. With doubles, it always comes down to a few points each match. If I can do some of the fundamentals slightly better (an extra first serve in, one or two more returns) and be disciplined, then it can help change a match.
How’s the partnership with Jamie going? What is working well for you two? Two titles under your belt as a team this year (Srpska Open and Dallas Open) must feel good.
We have a clear understanding now of what each of us like to do and how we can help set each other up and help each other. The most pleasing thing for me so far is the consistency week in and week out. Win or lose, we are giving ourselves opportunities in every match and if we can keep doing that, good things can happen.
I think I read somewhere that Rome is your favourite city to visit on tour. Are you in your happy place right now? Plenty of good food?
I love coming to Rome. There is so much to see and do and I love the food here, so it is always one of the most enjoyable weeks on tour for me.