Tennis NZ look for funding to support doubles team at 2020 Olympics

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Michael Venus would likely partner with either Artem Sitak or Marcus Daniell at the 2020 Olympics

Tennis New Zealand is hoping that with the country having a genuine chance of picking up a medal at the men’s doubles at the 2020 Olympics, High Performance Sport NZ will at last start funding them.

Tennis is the only major sport that doesn’t get any funding from High Performance Sport NZ, with shooting, wrestling, surfing and beach volleyball getting funding ahead of it.

A reason the continual snubbing is because High Performance Sport NZ is Olympics focused and there haven’t been any New Zealand tennis players showing the potential to win a medal in recent years.

But Tennis NZ CEO Julie Paterson believes that’s changed with the continual rise up the rankings of Michael Venus, plus Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell.

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Paterson says they are pleading their case to HPSNZ now.

“We’ll continue to have conversations with Sport New Zealand and High Performance Sport,” Paterson said.

“I think we’ve presented a really good case around getting funding for our doubles players for the Olympics, with a campaign to support them through to the Olympics.

“When we look at the rankings of our doubles players and compare them to rankings of other doubles players, who will team up to play for their country, we are sitting eighth.

“So we’ve probably got the best case we’ve had for a long time to get support towards going to the Olympics.”

The financial model for tennis doesn’t fit into HPSNZ’s rigid system, in that a lot of money ease needed to get a player to the top, but once they are there, they become self sufficient. 

In rowing, athletics, track cycling, athletics and other sports, New Zealand’s medal hopefuls need money to keep going once they’ve got to the top, but Venus earned around $890,000 this year, although coaching and travel expenses do have to come out of that. 

“It’s not masses of money he’s made this year, it’s a good income relatively speaking,” Paterson said.

“But we feel New Zealand would see value in having top ranked tennis players doing well in an Olympics context.

“I’ve no doubt at all that at the moment Mike has a great physio and a great support team around him, Artem and Marcus too, but what they don’t have is game analysis to the same degree that we might be able to invest in.

“We can put a full package around them and say New Zealand wants to support you guys and get a gold medal in tennis.

“So it’s not just about the money, but about us, as Tennis NZ and also New Zealand, showing a commitment to the sport and saying we rate tennis and think it’s worth investing in. 

“We’ve got these guys that are doing well on the international stage.

“People might have their own perceptions around singles versus doubles, but it doesn’t matter, these guys are doing incredibly well on the doubles circuit and I believe we should be giving them as much recognition and support as we can.”

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