Tennis: Marcus Daniell left reeling after shock split with doubles partner Philipp Oswald

New Zealand tennis player Marcus Daniell has been left reeling after his Austrian partner Philipp Oswald decided to end their partnership.

The 31-year-old Kiwi has expressed his surprise that Oswald, who had reached a career high ranking and his first Grand Slam quarterfinal playing with Daniell, decided after the French Open to split after Wimbledon.

It’s believed Oswald, who will play with Oliver Marach at the Olympics, will team up with his fellow Austrian on a permanent basis after Tokyo.

Daniell and Oswald reached their first Grand Slam quarterfinal together at the Australian Open in February, won an ATP title in Sardinia last year and notched up notable victories over some of the world’s best doubles teams. They have been seeded at their last two Grand Slams and Daniell felt they were forming a formidable partnership.

“I can’t hide that, it’s been a brutal couple of years with the injuries that hamstrung us before Covid hit,” Daniell said. “In saying that we did pretty well, he (Oswald) reached the second week of a slam for the first time in his career and reached a career high ranking (31) and that’s the hardest time to move up in the rankings with the Covid ranking freezes.”

Daniell and Oswald are 14th in the race to qualify among the top eight teams for the season ending ATP Finals and Oswald’s decision has left the Kiwi frustrated.

“So yeah I’m really disappointed, every team I have gone into with a long-term mind set. I think it makes sense to stick with one partner for a long time and build something and go through the hard patches and find your way out the other side. In saying that he’s a good guy, I don’t hold it against him but I am disappointed.”

Daniell and Oswald lost a tight second round match at Wimbledon after losing a close semifinal at Queen’s and the Kiwi felt the looming split affected their performances on the grass.

“He actually told me before the first grass court tournament before Stuttgart and it was a really tough month and hard to maintain some semblance of the right sort of energy on court when you have that hanging over your head.

“Obviously it’s a blow to your ego for your partner to say they want to split so that was tough for me to manage. We had some really close losses.

“The question is what if we hadn’t been splitting, would that extra energy and chemistry have pushed us over the line in those matches, who knows.”

Daniell will play with New Zealand-born Ben McLachlan, who represents Japan, at next week’s ATP tournament on grass in Newport before he joins up with Kiwi number one Michael Venus at the Olympics.

“Now it’s my least favourite part of doubles which is putting the word out and speaking to anyone I think I can play well with. Some of those people are in partnerships so it feels a little cheeky to send messages when you don’t know if someone is splitting with someone or not.

“That’s part of why I go into teams wanting to have a long-term mind set because I dislike this hustle part of doubles of finding partners.

“But it’s a necessary thing and I will speak to anyone I can to see if anyone’s in a position to set up another long-term thing. It’s not going to be a quick thing.”

Daniell does have a few weeks to find someone with Newport and the Olympics in Japan before he will return to the US where he will hope to have a new partner in place for the hard court tournaments building up to the US Open in September.

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