Men’s Tennis has been added to the New Zealand Olympic Games programme for Rio after the New Zealand Olympic Committee confirmed selection today for doubles combination Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell.
The duo have met the qualifying standards as the highest ranked New Zealand players based on ATP world rankings as of June 6.
Venus and Daniell are New Zealand’s second ever doubles combination to compete at an Olympic Games and Kereyn Smith, CEO of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, says she’s delighted these two outstanding players will represent New Zealand in Rio.
“It’s tough to make Olympic selection and tennis is hugely competitive internationally. We’re delighted to add another two athletes to our New Zealand Olympic Team and welcome Michael and Marcus as we count down to Rio.”
Tennis New Zealand CEO, Steve Johns also commended the players for their achievements.
“It’s great for the players and for tennis in New Zealand to be represented at the Rio Olympics. It’s also fantastic for each player and for their careers. Mike has consistently been ranked inside the top 50 players in the world and has won four ATP titles this year while Marcus has had a stellar year on the circuit winning a title as well.
"Tennis NZ is very proud of their achievements,” he said.
Michael Venus and Croatian doubles partner, Mate Pavic are currently ranked as the 16th seeds in the men’s doubles at Wimbledon. They won their first round match overnight. The last time a Kiwi male was seeded in doubles at Wimbledon was Brett Steven in 1998 where he was the ninth seed with American Patrick Galbraith.
Olympic Summer Games
Venus has won four ATP doubles titles this year (with Pavic) - Auckland, Montpellier, Marseille and s-Hertogenbosch and been a finalist once at Nice.
Marcus Daniell and fellow Kiwi Artem Sitak won the title at Stuttgart, Germany this year.
Other confirmed entries in the men’s doubles include names such as Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka for Switzerland, the Murray brothers, Andy and Jamie for Britain and Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia).
The last male to compete for New Zealand at an Olympic Games was Brett Steven in Atlanta in 1996 and Marina Erakovic competed at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.
New Zealand tennis great Anthony Wilding won an Olympic bronze medal in tennis in Stockholm in 1912.