Venus set for ATP Fi­nals to end year

Sunday News - - SPORT - DAVID LONG

PHOTOSPORT MICHAEL Venus ticked off a few mem­o­rable achieve­ments dur­ing his last over­seas trip and is aim­ing more suc­cess on his fi­nal foray of 2017.

The 29-year-old Venus spent last week in Auck­land, mak­ing a short visit home be­fore the Asian swing of the men’s cir­cuit, then hope­fully play­ing in the ATP World Tour Fi­nals in Lon­don in Novem­ber.

It’s a last big push in what’s been an in­cred­i­ble year for New Zealand’s top ten­nis player, win­ning the French Open dou­bles with Ryan Har­ri­son, then get­ting to the mixed dou­bles fi­nal at the US Open with Chan Hao-ching from Tai­wan.

He’s also climbed to 15 in the world and is close to con­firm­ing his place at the World Tour Fi­nals at the O2 Arena.

The top eight dou­bles teams in the world play in it, with Venus and Har­ri­son cur­rently sev­enth. But even if they are squeezed out there’s an­other rule that is likely to see them make it in.

‘‘There is one spot for a team which has won a Grand Slam that’s not in the top eight,’’ Venus said.

‘‘The teams that have won Aussie Open and Wim­ble­don have al­ready qual­i­fied and the team that won the US Open (JeanJulien Ro­jer and Ho­ria Te­cau) have about 4500 points.

‘‘Typ­i­cally the cut-off has been around 3500, so those guys should get in and we’ll then get in no mat­ter what.

‘‘But I would like us to qual­ify points wise and if we can have some suc­cess in Asia we can take care of that our­selves.’’

Mak­ing the World Tour Fi­nals would be the per­fect way to fin­ish off his best sea­son ever and also im­prove an al­ready healthy bank bal­ance.

Just for mak­ing it in, he’d pick up $64,000 of prize money, there’s $25,000 for each round robin match they win and he’d get $323,000 if he and Har­ri­son were to win the tour­na­ment un­de­feated.

That’s dwarfed by the $3.5 mil­lion of prize money for any player go­ing un­de­feated in the sin­gles, but it’s still not bad for a week’s work and adds nicely to the $642,000 Venus has earned this year, which is al­most half he’s won in his en­tire ca­reer.

‘‘I’ve watched it on TV and it looks like an amaz­ing event,’’ Venus says of the World Tour Fi­nals. ‘‘It’s all dark, with just the court lit up.’’

Michael Venus has en­joyed a su­perb sea­son.

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