Venus berates NZ government before Finals

·3-min read

Michael Venus, who will partner Australian John Peers in the ATP finals, has hit out at the New Zealand government while revealing that playing in the London showpiece is likely to cost him the chance of going home.

The New Zealand-Australia pairing will compete at London's O2 Arena as one of the world's eight leading doubles teams.

Yet while the other players will be looking forward to one final week in the coronavirus bubble before heading home for the off-season, things are much more complicated for New Zealander Venus.

He had a flight booked for earlier this week but had to cancel that to play in London, where he has 800 ranking points to defend, having reached the final last year with former partner Raven Klaasen.

Venus had considered pulling out of the Finals but managed to get a voucher to return on December 13.

Yet if he goes down that route, he will have to quarantine for two weeks in a hotel room, which would take him virtually to the start of the new season in Australia.

The 33-year-old told the PA news agency: "I don't even know what I'm going to do right now.

"If I take that flight and have two weeks in quarantine there while also having three weeks before that in lockdown here with no tennis clubs or gyms open, that's five or six weeks of doing nothing.

"And then, to have to turn around the next week and go to Australia, it's almost impossible."

Venus tried pleading his case to the New Zealand government but has been left disillusioned.

New Zealand has been widely praised for its handling of the crisis, having managed to keep cases very low, and Venus said: "It's great once you're there and you're able to be free and have no worries about things.

"But I think the oversight on the amount of spaces and how they're working that system to get home, it just doesn't make sense.

"It's quite unfair that there are some sports that are actually going on there, where other countries have come in - the West Indies are playing cricket there.

"So other nationalities are allowed to come in yet the citizens from their own country aren't able to get back. I think right now they've kind of got their priorities wrong.

"We went to the deputy prime minister, he's the minister of sport in New Zealand.

"We basically got told that he doesn't get involved in these things or influence it but I've heard things where he has helped out with the rugby team and cricket team so it's just one of those politics things where they do what they want to help who they want."

Venus, who has a two-year-old daughter, is considering travelling to Australia instead in the hope he might be able to see his family that way.

"I'm looking into that to see when the earliest I can get there is and try to figure out if family can come across there for some time," he said.