27 Dec 2016

Venus seeded for ASB Classic

2:57 pm on 27 December 2016

New Zealand's top men's doubles player and defending champion Michael Venus will be the third seed for the doubles draw of next month's ASB Classic in Auckland.

Mate Pavic (L) and Michael Venus in action at the 2016 ASB Classic, Auckland, New Zealand. Thursday 14 January 2016. Copyright Photo: Chris Symes / www.photosport.nz

Mate Pavic (L) and Michael Venus Photo: Photosport

Venus was given a wildcard to the main draw last week, but he won't need that anymore after being made one of the seeds.

He gets into the main draw of his current career high world ranking of 32.

He'll be playing with Swede Robert Lindstedt, who was ranked third in the world in 2013.

Tournament Director Karl Budge now has a total of two doubles wildcards to work with.

When New Zealander's Marcus Daniell (50) and Artem Sitak (62) won the New Zealand Championships they received one

of the wildcards into the doubles main draw.

With Venus' wildcard back, Budge can now give Daniell and Sitak their own individual wildcards to play with their typical tour

partners rather than as a duo.

Sitak has been playing with American Nicholas Monroe and Daniell with Brazilian Marcelo Demoliner.

"It's incredibly rare to have three doubles combinations that New Zealand fans can get behind in the main draw and they're

all genuine title contenders, ' said Budge.

"New Zealand doubles has really come into its own in 2016 with Venus, Daniell and Sitak flying the flag on Tour."

"We're lucky that the cards have fallen so that we can have them all in the main draw and with the opportunity to play with their

usual partners," said Tournament Director Karl Budge.

Venus has enjoyed his best year on the ATP Tour capturing four doubles titles and reaching a further five finals.

The 29 year old's formidable year was punctuated with titles in Auckland, Montpellier, Marseille and Hertogenbosch.

Venus teamed up with Croatian Mate Pavic and captivated New Zealand fans on their road to the 2016 ASB Classic final,

where they beat Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky.

It followed a semi final result in 2012.

This will be Venus' fifth consecutive ASB Classic.