Kaumātua of Aotearoa Māori Tennis, Sir Tamati Reedy says Michael Venus's Men's Doubles French Open win has highlighted the annual National Māori Tennis Championship as a platform to reach elite world competition.
The former Aotearoa Māori tennis player recently became the first New Zealander to claim a Grand Slam title since 1979 alongside American partner Ryan Harrison.
The duo defeated Santiago Gonzalez and Donald Young, 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-3.
"He's a prime example of one who won as a U14 winner in our Māori tennis tournament and carrying the flag for us right throughout this part of his career that has taken him to the very top of the world class tennis," says, Sir Reedy.
Venus, who has links to Rongowhakaata and Ngāti Porou via his half-sisters Elizabeth and Laura, spent his youth competing in the annual Māori tournament alongside his family. Sister Elizabeth Bailey says the tournament did much in shaping his success.
"It was a good build up also for the New Zealand Nationals and the New Zealand teams event, but he's come a long way since then and we're just really happy with Māori Tennis being accepting of us as a family unit," says Bailey.
Sir Reedy says Venus stands as a role model to the Māori tennis community and his success may spur Māori into taking to the court.
"We are proud to be associated with him in this great win of his."