Venus slams New Zealand over 'unfair' virus restrictions

London (AFP) –


Michael Venus has slammed New Zealand's government for coronavirus travel restrictions that mean the doubles star may not be able to go home after the ATP Finals in London.

New Zealander Venus will play with Australia's John Peers at the prestigious season-ending event as one of the world's top eight doubles teams.

But, while the other players will head home after the tournament concludes next weekend, Venus is likely to find himself living out of a suitcase for a while longer.

Venus, who reached the final of the ATP Finals last year with former partner Raven Klaasen, had considered pulling out of the event due to issues with New Zealand's strict pandemic rules.

Having decided to take part, Venus now has to quarantine for two weeks in a hotel room, which would take the 33-year-old virtually to the start of the new season, before he will be able to return to his family.

Venus tried pleading his case to the New Zealand government but has been left disillusioned after help was given to the likes of the West Indies cricket team but not to domestic athletes.

The country has been widely praised for its handling of the crisis having managed to keep cases very low, but Venus told Britain's Press Association: "It's great once you're there and you're able to be free and have no worries about things, but I think the oversight on the amount of spaces and how they're working that system to get home, it just doesn't make sense.

"It's quite unfair that there are some sports that are actually going on there, where other countries have come in - the West Indies are playing cricket there - so other nationalities are allowed to come in yet the citizens from their own country aren't able to get back.

"I think right now they've kind of got their priorities wrong. We went to the deputy prime minister, he's the minister of sport in New Zealand.

"We basically got told that he doesn't get involved in these things or influence it but I've heard things where he has helped out with the rugby team and cricket team so it's just one of those politics things where they do what they want to help who they want."

Venus, who has a two-year-old daughter, is considering travelling to Australia instead in the hope he might be able to see his family that way.

"Every time I go back to New Zealand I'm going to have to do two weeks quarantine on top of the weeks I'm away travelling. It's becoming a bit of nightmare right now actually."