Venus and Daniell to represent New Zealand at Tokyo Olympics
World number 16 ranked doubles player Michael Venus will partner 41st ranked Marcus Daniell at the Tokyo Olympic Games, subject to the NZOC receiving a quota for the men’s doubles event.
33-year-old Venus has won 14 ATP doubles titles, including the 2017 French Open, his maiden Grand Slam title. He has played at the season ending ATP World Tour Finals featuring the best eight doubles teams during the year four years in a row (with American Ryan Harrison in 2017, South African Raven Klaasen in 2018 and 2019 and Australian John Peers last year). Venus achieved a career high ranking of 8 in August 2019.
31-year-old Daniell has won 5 ATP doubles titles and has been ranked as high as 34 in the world in 2018. He has formed a formidable partnership with Austrian Philipp Oswald on the ATP Tour, and they have beaten some of the best teams in the world, most recently multiple Grand Slam champions Colombians, Robert Farah and Juan Sebastien Cabal last week at Queen's in London.
“It’s amazing, speaking for both of us we found Rio to be an incredible experience and since then have been eager to get back to the Olympics so to be named is huge and I am looking forward to it. Mike has obviously been playing extremely well for some time now and I think we can do some damage,” Daniell said.
Tennis New Zealand’s High Performance Director Christophe Lambert is thrilled for Venus and Daniell.
“Marcus and Mike have beaten the best teams in the world and are real contenders for a medal,” said Lambert.
“These guys are real role models and having them compete at the Olympic Games will really inspire our next generation of tennis stars.”
Although Daniell and Venus don't play together on the ATP, they have a strong understanding of each other's games. They teamed up earlier this year to reach the quarter finals at the Adelaide International and have played numerous Davis Cup ties together.
“We have played a bunch together and have spent quite a bit of time on the practice courts together. We’ve also played against each other in different tournaments so we know what we both like to do and from the matches we have had we complement each other well,” Venus said.
It's a 32-strong doubles draw for Tokyo, meaning pairs will need to win five matches to win the tournament. Venus and Daniell represented New Zealand in the Rio Olympics where they lost an epic first round doubles match 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8) to eventual silver medallists, Canadians Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil.
“We had some match points against the guys who made the semis but couldn’t get over the line and since that match we have been looking forward to the opportunity to have another crack at it.” Venus said.
Artem Sitak has been named as a non travelling reserve in the event of injury of either Venus or Daniell, subject to a reallocated quota.
The selection takes the total number of athletes named to the New Zealand Team to 138.