Marcus Daniell has admitted he entertained the idea of hanging up his tennis racquet, before his stunning run to a bronze medal with teammate Michael Venus in Tokyo.
The New Zealanders defeated Americans Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren 7-6, 6-2 to win the bronze medal match at Ariake Tennis Park last night.
Daniell was visibly emotional after match point and told 1 NEWS it was an “overwhelming” moment.
“Just the idea of bringing home a medal for New Zealand, knowing what’s gone into it and all of the sacrifice, not just from me but from my family, friends, my wife, it’s been 20-25 years in the making.”
The straight sets victory made the pair the first New Zealanders to win an Olympics medal since Anthony Wilding won a bronze for Australasia in 1912 in Stockholm.
“When Mike hit that last volley… and I realised it was over and that we were going to bring back some tin, it all just sort of crashed in. It’s been a tough couple of months for me on tour and so to have a lifetime achievement like this is so incredibly special. I just can’t wait to share it with everyone I love.”
Daniell’s split with Austrian playing partner Philipp Oswald left the Kiwi questioning his future in the game.
“For the first time in a decade [I was] thinking about whether it’s time to hang up the racquet and so you to come off the back of those thoughts and to have this thing hanging around our necks, it’s incredibly special.”
Venus says despite their personality differences, the two clicked for the campaign.
Rooming together at the Olympic village allowed them to form a tight bond.
“We’ve spent a lot of time together. We get on well off the court. It’s allowed us to talk and have some things outside of tennis also. It’s probably a good thing we weren’t here too much longer before as we’re quite different in terms of how the room’s set up.
“We’ve got a bit of an imaginary line drawn down the middle. Marcus tries not to look on my side, which is a bit of a mess. We’ve managed to accept each other for who we are.”
A partnership that has now paid dividends for two New Zealand toilers.