New Zealand tennis professional Mike Venus, a Doubles specialist, won a first round match at the French Open for the first time in four years of trying.
He is the top-ranked Kiwi doubles player in the world and he combined with partner Ryan Harrison of America to beat an Argentinian player, Diego Schwartzman and another American, Francis Tiafoe.
Venus and Harrison lost the first set in the best-of-three match by the score of 3 – 6. It appeared at though Venus was scheduled for another early exit until he and Tiafoe more or less dominated the next two sets, wining each 6 – 4, in just over one hour.
Speaking after the match, Venus said, “I am really happy it was definitely a dicey start. But we managed to get over the hurdle and got a bit of momentum in the second set and started to play a bit better and settle into our game, so am really happy to be in the next round.”
Roland Garros and the slow French Clay are tough for many non-European players who did not grow up playing on the dirt. Most are more at home on grass, although that surface is increasingly rare, and hardcourts.
Venus and Harrison actually wore Schwartzman and Tiafoe down, as both players had to endure five-set marathon singles matches the day prior.
Venus was rather philosophical about the win, typically understated, as Kiwis tend to be. Rather than overboard exultation, he said, “The last three years I have been looking at flights about this time to get out of here, so it is nice to be here a bit longer, but plenty of work to do so I need to get out onto the practice court and fix some things.”
Now, we normally avoid affairs of the heart and our one experience at matchmaking was disastrous, but would it not be great if Mike Venus were to marry Venus William, making her Venus Venus?