Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Tennis: Mike Venus and Marcus Daniell included in NZ Olympic team

Michael Venus. Photo / Doug Sherring
Michael Venus. Photo / Doug Sherring

New Zealand Tennis has succeeded with a last ditch bid to have representatives at the Olympics.

Doubles combination Mike Venus and Marcus Daniell will fly the flag in Rio, after the New Zealand Olympic Committee agreed they were realistic top-16 contenders.

It's a major boost for the sport, and just reward for the pair who have enjoyed impressive campaigns on the ATP tour this year.

Venus, alongside Croatian partner Mate Pavic, has won an ATP-high four tournaments this year, including Auckland, and reached one other final.

Daniell took out the Stuttgart tournament with fellow Kiwi Artem Sitak, and also won two Challenger tournaments in Mexico with Sitak.

Daniell split with Sitak before the current Wimbledon tournament but his current ranking of 59, along with Venus' career high position of 39, allowed them to meet the ITF qualifying criteria.

Venus and Daniell will be the first New Zealand males to take the court at an Olympics since Brett Steven in 1996.

Marina Erakovic competed at the 2012 London Olympic, but lost in the first round.

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