Michael Venus believes he can become No1 in the world in doubles - and such a goal no longer seems a far-fetched dream.

In fact, given his progress over the past few years, it seems only a matter of time before Venus breaks into the top 10, and from there, anything is possible.

Sometimes Venus' exploits on the ATP world tour can fly under the radar here, as the time zones aren't friendly for a New Zealand audience, and Kiwis are often fixated on the oval ball codes at that time of year.

But the Aucklander's achievements in recent years have been outstanding. Venus is now ranked as the 15th best doubles player on the globe, after a season when he reached five ATP finals (with Raven Klaasen), highlighted by their run to the Wimbledon final.


Venus, 31, is established among the elite in the team game. He decided to focus full-time on doubles only in 2014, and is coming into his sixth full campaign. Compare that with some of his big-name rivals - Mike and Bob Bryan (40), Oliver Marach (38), Bruno Soares (36) and Marcelo Melo (35) - who have been on the doubles scene for the best part of two decades. Venus has time on his side, perhaps another seven or eight years.

Doubles success is often predicated on long-term partnerships, such as the Bryan brothers, Melo and Lukasz Kubot, or the Colombian pair of Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal.

Venus hasn't had that luxury. Since he split with Mate Pavic just over two years ago, Venus has teamed up with more than 10 different players, although he has had extended stints with Robert Lindstedt, Ryan Harrison and Klaasen.

But despite all the adjustments, Venus has continued to thrive. After winning the French Open in 2017 and reaching the semifinals of the ATP World Tour finals (with Harrison), this season has been even more noteworthy.

Venus and Klaasen reached the final at Wimbledon (falling to Mike Bryan and Jack Sock), as well as the ATP Masters in Toronto. They made three other finals, winning the title in Marseille and qualified for the year-end ATP finale in London.

"When you are starting a new partnership, you're not sure how it's going to go," said Venus. "In the first half of the year, we were consistent. We only had one or two first-round losses, we were playing good tennis but weren't continually clicking.

"But we kept working and things just seemed to click at Wimbledon and fall into place. Since then, that doubt has gone about 'will this work or will it not?' The confidence is there and we know what we can do. Now we're trying to build on things."

Venus doesn't fixate on rankings - "if you do that too much, it can mess with your head" - but admits reaching the summit is an objective.


"There is no one who I walk out on court and feel 'I can't win this match', or 'I need to do something extra special to win this match'," he said. "I feel like I can play my own game and trust myself enough and I will get an opportunity at some point and then it is a matter of just executing, and trying to take those points when they come along.

"If you asked all the guys in the top 50 if they wanted to get to No1, they would say yes. That's definitely a goal. If you do the little things right day in and day out, you will get better as a player and you will play better, have better results in tournaments and put yourself in better positions.

"The more times you do that, the more ranking points you are going to get, the more opportunities, and you will move up the ranking."

Venus has been training over the past 10 days in Auckland as he prepares for the ASB Classic. He has even opted for a session on Christmas Day ("just to get ahead of the other guys") as he aims to repeat his 2016 home-town triumph.

"I've got another 10 days to keep working on things. I'm excited to start the year and hopefully the preparation translates on to the court."

Michael Venus year end doubles ranking

2018 16
2017 15
2016 32
2015 44
2014 62
2013 121