Olympian Marina Erakovic have been selected as a member of the first team to represent New Zealand in tennis at the Commonwealth Games.
Erakovic who is one of the worlds sought-after doubles players with a current ranking of 114, was named today along with her doubles partner Ellen Barry. The mens combination of Jose (Rubin) Statham and Marcus Daniell was also named.
All the players will also compete in singles at the Commonwealth Games.
Tennis will be played for the first time at a Commonwealth Games this October. New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary general and team selector Barry Maister says he is looking forward to seeing tennis feature at the Commonwealth games and says the Kiwi doubles have a unique opportunity.
Doubles tennis in the Commonwealth Games environment is new and their performances are going to be hard to predict, he said. Instead of competing with their usual partners from countries such as Yugoslavia, or Rumania, the doubles combinations will be all Kiwi.
Steve Johns, CEO for Tennis New Zealand says We are proud to send this team of athletes to the Commonwealth Games they all have proved themselves on the world professional tours, and also, all have great potential ahead of them.
In Davis Cup and Fed Cup contests, our tennis team members have all showed their great passion and commitment in representing New Zealand, and we know they will compete with distinction at the Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand has entered the maximum of two doubles combinations in the Commonwealth Games. - ends - About the Players:
Jose Rubin Statham has a current world ranking of 395 in singles and 262 in doubles. Jose is his given name but he goes by the name Rubin. Statham won a first round singles match at this years New Zealand-based ATP Mens Tournament the Heineken Open in January in Auckland. Statham has won a doubles title at an ITF Futures event in June 2010 and has made semi-finals of Futures in singles and doubles over the past six months. Rubin has been in the NZ Davis Cup Team for the past six years, and has an impressive record in that, having won an 15 out of 18 matches. He was in the NZ Team in the July Davis Cup semi-final Tie against Pakistan where he convincingly won both his singles matches in straight sets to help seal the 3-2 victory. The Asia/Oceania Group II Davis Cup Final is in Thailand in September, and once again the New Zealand Davis Cup team will be relying on Statham as a key player. Statham is currently ranked at 17 in the list of direct acceptances for the Commonwealth Games. His Davis Cup record for the New Zealand team reinforces that he puts everything into playing for his country.
An exciting, emerging professional player from the Wairarapa, Marcus Daniell has a current world ranking of 631 in singles 189 in doubles. Daniell captured the hearts of all New Zealanders by winning in the doubles title at the ATP Heineken Open Tournament in Auckland in January (with his Romanian partner Horia Tecau) the first New Zealander to achieve this for many years. This moved his doubles ranking up by more than 400 places to 216. His rankings have since remained in the top 200. Marcus was also part of the NZ Davis Cup Team in July. Based on current world rankings, Daniell would be the 19th direct acceptance to the Commonwealth games tennis tournament for men. His doubles ranking is the eighth-best.
Marina Erakovic has a current world ranking of 362 in singles and 114 in doubles. She has been has high as 49 in the world in 2008 (when she was a semi-finalist at the ASB Classic in Auckland, and almost reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon), before an injury-enforced break. To her credit she has begun moving up the international rankings again, from 700 up to 362 in the last three months, and her doubles rankings is just outside the top 100. Erakovic is a highly-regarded doubles player, with many top players on the world stage seeking her as a partner. Just last week she partnered former world number one Cara Black at a WTA tournament. Erakovic has won two doubles titles (ITF US$75,000 and WTA US$220,000) and was runner up in two (US$50,000 and US$100,000) since November 2009. She also won the Womens Singles NZ Residential Championships in December 2009 which she used as a lead-in tournament to the ASB Classic in Auckland. Erakovic represented New Zealand at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Erakovic is currently 14th direct acceptance, if not higher, dependent on which players ranked above her decide to compete. Her doubles ranking is the sixth-best ranking from the known field and Tennis NZ believes with her current form she is medal contention in the doubles with fellow Kiwi Ellen Barry. Erakovic has proved she is capable of competing with top players in the world and in the Commonwealth, and could well be in medal contention in the singles in India as well.
Ellen Barry Eighteen months ago, Ellen Barry was among the fastest-rising players on the ITF Womens rankings, after a great run at Pro Circuit tournaments, especially in Australia. This rankings rise was curtailed by injury, and Canterbury-based Barry is now back competing at the top of local competition, and in international professional events. In December 2009, she faced Marina Erakovic as a singles finalist in the NZ Residential Championships, and this week is playing in an ITF Pro Circuit Tournament in Istanbul, Turkey, where she has won her first round singles match.
Dan King-Turner and Sacha Jones were unavailable for the Commonwealth Games.
Davis Cup coach Marcel Vos will be the official team coach.
For further information contact: Ashley Abbott.