Michael Venus and South African doubles partner Raven Klaasen have ended their collaboration after finishing runners-up at the ATP Finals in London.
They were beaten by Australian Open champions, the French pair of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, 6-3, 6-4 in 70 minutes in the title decider yesterday.
Venus confirmed afterwards he would be joining forces with former Australian Open doubles champion John Peers for 2020.
"I've known him a long time and we live very close to each other in London and train at the same club. We practise a lot together and the opportunity arose, so we'll give it a shot." Venus said.
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With Klaasen, Venus has established himself as one of the world's leading doubles exponents and is projected to end the year ranked 10 in the world. He and Klaasen qualified for the year-end Championships in both the two seasons they played together, with highlights being reaching the Wimbledon final in 2018 and semifinals this year. They won three ATP doubles titles together, including ATP 5000 tournaments in Halle and Washington DC this year.
Yesterday's match was a step too far for the duo, however, and after an epic semifinal win over top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, they never quite got going.
Venus was in trouble at 15-40 in his opening service game but saved three break points to level at 1-1 and then he and Klaasen had three break points on Mahut in the next service game. On the second, a Venus backhand volley hit the top of the net and Mahut went on to hold. That was as close as it got for Venus and Klaasen in the first set.
The South African dished up two double faults in his first service game and Herbert fired a backhand winner past him to break serve. Games went with serve for the remainder of the set, which Mahut and Herbert won 6-3 in 33 minutes.
Venus saved two break points to hold serve in the opening game of the second set and Mahut saved a break point in the sixth game. But at 3-3, Klaasen found himself in a spot of trouble at 0-30. He got back to 30-30, but at 30-40, served a double fault and was broken for the second time in the match as the eighth seeds took control. Venus held serve for 4-5 but Mahut then served out the match.
Herbert and Mahut have gone one better after finishing runners-up last year. They have gone through the tournament unbeaten and will take home US$533,000 between them, while Venus and Klaasen share US$289,000. The 32-year-old Kiwi has earned just under US$650,000 for the season.