New Zealand doubles player Marcus Daniell's chances of featuring at the ATP World Tour finals in November have nose dived after splitting with his Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof after a year together.
Daniell and Koolhof reached the quarter finals at Wimbledon last week with the Kiwi now up to 37 in the ATP rankings and Koolhof at 26. They are 15th in the race to London and stood a strong chance of making the elite eight strong team field with three of the teams ahead of them having split during the year.
However the Kiwi has revealed Koolhof told him around the time of the French Open he wouldn't commit to their partnership beyond the grass season.
"Yeah it's a bit of a shame." Daniell said " At the Australian Open in January I injured my shoulder and was out for six to eight weeks and my ranking dropped."
Koolhof then teamed up with top singles player Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Indian Wells and Miami Masters and they made the finals in Miami together which bolstered his ranking. He then played with compatriot Robin Haase at the Monte Carlo Masters where they again made the final.
"I assume from that point he started thinking about how he was going to consistently play the Masters. So we had a vague chat about things quite late on in the clay season and we had a agreed to play on to the end of the grass and then things were up in the air. As time went on he was chatting to Robin Haase about playing."
Daniell says the looming Tokyo Olympics next year was also clearly a consideration for Koolhof.
"If they are a solid Dutch team they would be putting their hands up to be chosen to play in that which is a huge career moment which he hasn't had yet, and I know how special that is and I am sure it was on his mind. So from his point of view results in Masters were phenomenal through the year so he has a lot of opportunities."
For Daniell it's a real momentum killer and he faces some big decisions over the next few weeks on his long term playing partner.
"From my point of view it's a bit of a shame especially when we have both been healthy we have won a lot of matches together, (20 wins and 10 defeats in 2019) we have a very good win loss record and have beaten some top teams together. It's a shame because I'm of the belief the longer teams stick together the better they will do. Playing for a year is nice but for me I am about playing for two years, three years, four years, so it's a little bit of back to the drawing board now. These are just the unfortunate realities of the doubles tour and the part I dislike the most of it."
Daniell is playing with Indian veteran Leander Paes as a one-off at the ATP tournament in Newport this week and will look for a top 30 doubles player first or a top ranked singles player to play with in the big Masters 1000 tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati. "My ranking is at a place where people are asking me to play, but I want to find a partner now who I don't feel is short term orientated and I feel like I can do big things with in the long term, and that's not an easy task."
"Ken Skupski will partner me at the ATP tournament in Winston Salem potentially, and then definitely for the US Open. I have played against him a lot over the last year and he's a very solid player. The thing about the British players is they play a system I really like. There's the head coach of the LTA on the doubles side Louis Cayer who I think is a bit of a genius as a doubles coach and Ken is a disciple of his. So I know the system and the way they like to play and I think it will be easy to combine well. In the meantime for the Masters I have to put the feelers out and see who might be keen to play."