Rio ace for Q’town coach

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT - RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

To be given the op­por­tu­nity to go to the Olympics is ‘‘a big hon­our’’, and Queen­stown tennis coach Lan Bale plans to make the most of it.

The 46-year-old found out two weeks ago his New Zealand dou­bles team of Mike Venus and Mar­cus Daniell had made the cut.

Bale said it was go­ing to be a ‘‘big­ger buzz’’ than a nor­mal tennis tour­na­ment.

‘‘Coach­ing guys play­ing for New Zealand at the Olympics is a big op­por­tu­nity,’’ he said.

‘‘Be­ing part of the show is go­ing to be some­thing re­ally mem­o­rable.’’

Bale was nom­i­nated by em­ployer Tennis New Zealand to coach Venus and Daniell fol­low­ing an il­lus­tri­ous play­ing ca­reer in­clud­ing mak­ing the quar­ter fi­nals of Wim­ble­don with dou­bles part­ner Brett Steven in 1994.

De­spite the Kiwi pair hav­ing a com­bined world rank­ing of 107th, Bale ex­pected them to play well.

‘‘They wouldn’t be a big favourite, but that of­ten doesn’t mean too much.

‘‘These guys are well ca­pa­ble of beat­ing re­ally, re­ally top teams.’’

Bale’s team would com­pete for the gold medal along­side 31 other teams.

Sin­gles world num­ber one No­vak Djokovic, Andy Mur­ray (2) and Rafael Nadal (4) would be com­pet­ing in the dou­bles.

The team ar­rived in Rio on Sun­day and the dou­bles com­pe­ti­tion starts on Au­gust 6.

Queen­stown-based tennis coach Lan Bale is in Rio coach­ing a Kiwi dou­bles pair.

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