Dave Worsley: Kiwi doubles stars do NZ tennis proud at US Open

OPINION: At about 11.30pm, after a long day of waiting for matches to finish and then playing a close contest himself, Kiwi Mike Venus walked into the main media area for an interview.

His partner and little baby waited, either on site or back at the hotel.

Venus and doubles partner Chan 'Angel' Hao-Ching from Chinese Taipei had just made the mixed doubles final at the US Open for the second time in three years, booking a match on Arthur Ashe Stadium - the biggest court in tennis - live TV and some big prizemoney too.

Despite the time and tiredness, Venus said, "Hi", shook hands, introduced Chan, and did his interviews in an honest and professional manor.

The same goes for fellow New Zealand doubles pros Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak, when it’s their turn.

Let's not forget, none of them did particularly well in the US Open men's doubles. Daniell and Sitak lost - separately - in the first round, third-seeded Venus in the second round. In fact, the US Open was their worst Grand Slam performance of the year.

But each was professional after their losses, when probably the last thing they wanted to do was speak to the odd random journo, who was curious about them. It's about doing the job on and off the court.

Talking to media isn't Venus' strength. He admits it, whereas Sitak is more happier to talk and so is Daniell - different personalities.

Since Marina Erakovic retired, Venus has been New Zealand's leading tennis ambassador, making his fourth Grand Slam final in New York, after winning French Open doubles in 2017 and losing the Wimbledon final a year later.

He was a beaten finalist in the US Open mixed doubles two years ago and hoped to go one better this time round.

Venus doesn't receive the credit or acknowledgement he deserves, not that he really cares. He's a top-10 player who has made the year-end championships twice, has 10 ATP titles to his credit - 13 times runner-up - and is respected around the world by his peers and the public too.

The 31-year-old has plenty of time left on the tennis tour to make the most of his talents, if he avoids injuries.

Yes, people will say, "it's only doubles".

True, it's not singles, but it's still great to watch up close and takes great talent to get to the top 10 -  just ask Daniell and Sitak.

Anyone who has travelled for work will know it's not easy, and more so when you're a globetrotting tennis player in a sport where you lose nearly every week.

So the Kiwi doubles players deserve some credit for continuing to inspire others to take up the sport, and potentially become doubles and singles professionals.

Oh, and by the way, Venus could not break his duck at Flushing Meadow, losing a US mixed doubles final to Briton Jamie Murray for the second time. 

Dave Worsley is a Newshub sports reported, covering his 14th US Open

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