Tennis: Venus on lookout for new partnerSave
By Matt Brown
New Zealand's top-ranked doubles player Michael Venus has split from his Swedish partner Robert Lindstedt following an ordinary run of results.
The Kiwi number one teamed up with the former Grand Slam champion last October and immediately reached the final of the Basel ATP tournament in Switzerland and a career high doubles ranking of 32.
Venus had formed a successful partnership with Croatian Mate Pavic winning 4 titles in 2016 and earning close to $200,000 US dollars.
But the Croatian made the decision to go their separate ways and team up with the higher ranked Austrian Alexander Peya, a move that would get him into the bigger Masters 1000 tournaments.
Venus and Lindstedt started 2017 poorly, losing in the first round in Brisbane and Auckland's ASB Classic before a second round defeat at the Australian Open. They reached the quarter finals in Montpellier but first round defeats in Memphis, Delray Beach and Acapulco proved to be the final straw.
Venus says they are 'still friends off the court and go to dinner but we just weren't getting any results.'
Venus lost in the first round of Indian Wells with Frenchman Benoit Paire and his ranking has slipped to 40 just three places ahead of improving Kiwi number two Marcus Daniell.
The Kiwis have teamed up for a tilt at the Miami Open, another Masters 1000 tournament where they are touch and go to get in.
They have to sign in tomorrow by 6am New Zealand time and hope their combined ranking of 83 is high enough for the 32 strong doubles draw. Last year's cut off in Miami was 75.
Venus and Daniell will return to New Zealand after Miami to prepare for the Davis Cup tie against Korea in Auckland early next month.
Meanwhile New Zealand women's number one Marina Erakovic is off to a winning start in Miami.
The 29-year-old Aucklander has won her first round qualifying against Britain's Naomi Broady 7-5, 6-4.
Erakovic has struggled so far in 2017 failing to get past the first round at WTA Tour level.
Her ranking is 107 and she needs to boost it inside the top 100 to guarantee a main draw appearance at the French Open in May.
She will next face 20-year-old Canadian Francoise Abanda and needs to win two more matches to make the main draw.