Kiwi tennis player starting to move off Struggle Street with French Open run

By Matt Brown in Paris

Kiwi doubles team, Marcus Daniell in action with Artem Sitak (not pictured). Photo / Nick Reed.
Kiwi doubles team, Marcus Daniell in action with Artem Sitak (not pictured). Photo / Nick Reed.

Life has just got a lot easier for Kiwi tennis player Marcus Daniell.

The 26 year old's progression to the third round at the French Open doubles will see him boost his ranking considerably from 72, potentially enabling Daniell to team up with regular partner Artem Sitak for Wimbledon.

Since turning pro in 2008, Daniell has earned just over $188,000 US dollars in prize money or $26,000 a year which equates to $40 thousand New Zealand dollars.

It's not enough to live on when you are travelling 10 months of the year, let along pay a coach, fitness trainer, and flight and accommodation expenses for the weeks when you are not playing in ATP tournaments.

Daniell is lucky in that his partner lives in London which he uses as a base while in Europe.

At the Grand Slams the players must pay their own accommodation and Daniell has extended his Air B&B accommodation twice already after winning his first two matches.

Daniell and American Brian Baker are guaranteed to split 37 thousand Euros (61 thousand NZD) if they lose tonight's match against 6th seeds Indian Rohan Bopanna and Romania's Florian Mergea. It would take his earnings this season to $76,000 NZD.

With more than half the season to come including Wimbledon and the US Open, Daniell is on track to earn a decent wage this year.

The incentive to win tonight is huge, 68 thousand Euros or $112,000 NZD for making the quarter finals, and a big jump in the rankings to boot.

The key for doubles players is being ranked high enough, first to make the Grand Slams where the most ranking points are on offer, and secondly the nine ATP Masters 1000 tournaments where the prize money is significant and the best teams play.

To do that Daniell and Sitak will have to get their ranking around the top 30 and they have some way to go. New Zealand's number one doubles player Michael Venus with three titles this year and partner Mate Pavic, are ranked 37 and 45 respectively, not quite high enough to get into the elite tournaments like Indian Wells, Miami, Rome and Madrid.

Sitak made the second round at Roland Garros, equalling his performance from last year, so he won't lose any ranking points. (Currently 65). The Kiwis plan to reunite for the Stuttgart ATP tournament on grass next month, before heading to Halle in Northern Germany for another grass court tournament, where they are entered in qualifying. (They won't be able to play if they reach the semis in Stuttgart).

Both Daniell and Sitak feel they are at their most dangerous on grass and are looking forward to the change of surface where a string of strong results might just see them achieve their goal of joining the likes of the Bryan brothers Bob and Mike in the Masters 1000 events sooner rather than later.

Matt Brown is in Paris thanks to Emirates Airline

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