Michael Venus has dusted off the shoes which helped him win the French Open doubles title last year in his return to clay court tennis.

The world number 16 has made a stunning start to the prestigious Monte Carlo Masters.

Venus and his South African partner Raven Klaasen have crushed Frenchman Lucas Pouille and Russian Andrei Rublev 6-1, 6-1 to reach the second round.

Venus and Klaasen who are playing their first clay court tournament of the season romped to the win in just 46 minutes over their opponents who are regarded as singles specialists.


They converted 5 of 8 break point chances during the match and while they never once dropped serve, they saved nine break point chances against their serve in the match.

Playing his first match on clay since winning the French Open last June, Venus made a last minute decision to wear the shoes he won with at Roland Garros.

"I hadn't practiced in them or anything and didn't tell Raven as we were walking out to court, but told him afterwards and we had a bit of a laugh." Venus said.

Playing in Monte Carlo for the first time Venus says it's exciting to be back on clay and starting with a terrific performance.

'Very good start to the clay court season for us and while there were some tight games it just happened that on a lot of the big points we managed to come out on top. Venus said.

Venus is a different player now on a surface that he struggled with early in his career coming from a country with no clay courts.

" I feel a lot more comfortable on clay, going out there this week, I felt like I had the belief and knew what I was doing. It's just about getting comfortable with the movement again."

Venus and Klaasen will face a tough test in the second round against the US Open champions Jean Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau who are the 6th seeds in Monte Carlo. That match will be on Wednesday morning (NZT)