Tennis: Kiwi duo forced to split for French Open

By Matt Brown

Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak prepare to serve. Photo / Getty Images
Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak prepare to serve. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand doubles specialists Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell have had to change partners for this month's second Grand Slam, the French Open in Paris.

The Kiwis have been playing together fulltime since the start of the year but their combined doubles ranking (137) isn't high enough to get into Roland Garros.

Sitak is ranked 65 and Venus 72 but Sitak says the French Open entry list for doubles is the strongest it's ever been.

"It could be because of the Olympics, with everybody wanting to play, so we have had to find different partners." Sitak said.

Sitak will play doubles with American Nicholas Munroe whom he played with at last year's French Open while Daniell will team up with another American, Brian Baker.

"We were playing an ATP tournament in Istanbul a couple of weeks ago and as soon as we lost in the semi finals we started doing the research because we realised we wouldn't get in together." Sitak said.

"I played together (with Monroe) for over three months and we had good results, so that helps playing with someone I've played with before."

Sitak and Daniell will team up against next week at the ATP tournament in Geneva in the hope of picking up enough ranking points to enable them to play the whole grass court season together including Wimbledon.

This week Sitak is playing an ATP Challenger event in Bordeaux and is through to the semi finals with Poland's Mariusz Frystenberg.

Michael Venus is the other Kiwi in the men's doubles at the French Open, teaming up with his regular partner Mate Pavic from Croatia.

- NZ Herald

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