Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus created a bit of New Zealand history today when they won the Olympic tennis men’s doubles bronze medal.
The New Zealanders had to battle hard to beat Americans Tennys Sandgren and Austin Krajicek 7-6, 6-2 in the third place play-off.
They are the first New Zealanders to win an Olympic medal for tennis since Anthony Wilding won the singles bronze medal in Stockholm in 1912.
Daniell and Venus combined superbly to frustrate the hard-hitting Americans. In fact, they played so well together, they provoked questions about why they don’t team up on the pro tennis tour.
The match took nearly 1h 50min, and contained an extraordinary number of deuce games. To their credit, the New Zealanders stayed calm and put away some deft volleys to frustrate the Americans at critical times.
Unlike some top tennis players, who are somewhat ambivalent about tennis at the Olympics, the New Zealand were unwavering in their desire to do well.
As Daniell said yesterday when contemplating the bronze medal play-off: “When I was a little kid I dreamed of standing on the podium at the Olympics.”
Venus said he and Daniell had targeted the Olympics for a couple of years.
"We've both been on the ATP tennis tour for a long time, and know each other well. We realised that with our rankings we would get the opportunity to play doubles here and we spoke about it often. We played a couple of tournaments together to help prepare."Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games