Tennis: Venus backs out of Daniell deal

By Matt Brown

Michael Venus in action during the ASB Classic in Auckland. Photo / Getty Images
Michael Venus in action during the ASB Classic in Auckland. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand's top ranked doubles player Michael Venus has reneged on an agreement to sign in for the lucrative Miami Open with fellow Kiwi Marcus Daniell.

At the last minute Venus opted to enter with Serbian Victor Troicki, a move which guaranteed his place in the main draw of one of the Premier ATP Masters 1000 tournaments.

The combined ATP /WTA tournament carries a total financial commitment of more than 11 million dollars and the ranking points on offer are only surpassed by the Grand Slams. First round doubles losers earn close to 20 thousand dollars as a team.

Venus insists he would have loved to have played with Daniell.

"We have played well before and have played well together but on this cut we would have been the last team in, and if I hadn't signed with Troicki he could've signed with someone else and it would have pushed us out. So there was a little bit of maths going backwards and forward but there were too many guys who could have pushed us out and I had to get into the tournament first." Venus said.

But Daniell is disappointed with Venus's decision pointing out the agreement they had was they would sign in together.

"And if we didn't make it into the on site cut off we would at least have been close enough to get an alternate and would stick around. I guess Mike got a bit freaked out last night about what he thought the cut off would be for the tournament. We would have made the draw together so it's a bit of a knock, but he made the decision he thought was right."

The tournament cut off was 90 and Venus and Daniell would have got in with their combined ranking of 82.

Daniell says players like John Isner and Tommy Haas signed in for the doubles and that influenced Venus's decision.

Venus and Troicki will play the strong pairing of Jean-Julien Roger and Horia Tecau in the first round.

Despite the obvious disappointment Daniell is confident there will be no lingering hard feelings between him and Venus with the Davis Cup tie against Korea in Auckland to follow early next month.

"Davis Cup is important and we want to have the best atmosphere there as possible. This occurrence obviously doesn't help but I am willing to put it behind us and try to really get some good team morale going in a couple of weeks" Daniell said.

For Daniell it's now a case of playing a waiting game having signed is as an alternate with regular partner Marcelo Demoliner who have a combined ranking of 96.

"We are two or three places out of the draw but are going to stick around and hopefully get in as alternates. We won a tournament together last week (Challenger tournament in Irving Texas) and if we get in hopefully we can do some real damage."

Daniell explained it's a difficult situation to be in.

"Essentially we have to go to the courts every day and sign our names saying we are there and ready to play and have to wait and see if anyone is injured or sick. It's always a gamble but at these two week events the chances are always bigger than a one week tournament."

Daniell points out the first round of the doubles is played Thursday to Saturday and some of the singles players who lose early may not want to hang around until the end of the first round of the doubles.

"So there is a chance, it's not obviously the best situation to be in because we have to be at the courts all day, every day. But the upside is so big that we have to give ourselves the shot. Every year there seems to be at least one alternate so we have to roll the dice.

Meanwhile New Zealand women's number one Marina Erakovic has qualified for the main draw in the singles.

Erakovic has battled illness and her Canadian opponent Francoise Abanda, winning 6-0, 6-7, 7-5 in two hours and 28 minutes.

Erakovic will be seeking her first win at Tour level in 2017. She will play American Shelby Rogers in first round Miami tomorrow.

- NZ Herald

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