French Open doubles tennis champion Michael Venus has split with American partner Ryan Harrison.

Venus will team with veteran South African Raven Klaasen for 2018.

Close friends Venus and Harrison started playing together for the clay court season this year and won their first ATP tournament together in Estoril before their remarkable run at Roland Garros. In Paris they won each match in three sets, culminating in the title. It was the first Grand Slam won by a New Zealand man since Onny Parun in the men's doubles at the 1974 French Open.

Venus ended the year ranked 15 in doubles and earned US$605,137 ($883,000) in prizemoney.


The 29-year-old Aucklander says it was a mutual decision with Harrison to go their separate ways.

"It was obviously a really tough decision" Venus said.

"Ryan is top 50 in singles and that's his priority and he wants to continue to develop that so it makes it tough to build both."

During the season Harrison and Venus seldom practised together at tournaments, unless the American lost early in singles. Most of the leading doubles teams are specialists.

Venus says Harrison has been extremely supportive and the duo remain best friends off the court.

"I had been trying to figure out what's the best thing to do and Ryan advised me to test the waters and see who's out there and what possibilities I had. He said if I didn't have anything we could keep playing until something worked out." Venus said.

"I had heard that Raven and his partner [Rajeev Ram] were parting ways so I flicked him a message and it all fell into place from there."

Klaasen, 35, has won 13 ATP doubles titles, including in Auckland in 2015, and the prestigious Indian Wells Masters this year with Ram.


Venus will leave for Brisbane after Christmas for the season-opening Brisbane International before returning home for the ASB Classic ahead of the Australian Open.