Marcus Daniell continues his slow return to the professional tennis tour, inspired by the Olympics

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Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell won a bronze medal together at the Tokyo Olympics.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell won a bronze medal together at the Tokyo Olympics.

New Zealand doubles player Marcus Daniell has taken another step towards a return to tennis but is still not 100% sure he will continue in the sport.

The 32-year-old has been out since this year’s Australian Open, having injured his knee while surfing in New Zealand shortly after which required surgery.

The severity of the injury took Daniell off the tour for all of 2022 and he still doesn’t know when he’ll be ready to return in 2023.

“I’m still on the mend,” Daniell said.

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“I started jogging for the first time last week, quite lightly.

“It was a slower process than I expected, but it feels good to move my body like this again.

Marcus Daniell's tenure on the ATP Players Council ends at the end of the year.

Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Marcus Daniell’s tenure on the ATP Players Council ends at the end of the year.

“The start of next season is definitely over, I don’t think I can be on the tennis court at a decent title until the end of November, or about a month later.

“Knowing how easy it is to get injured when you’ve only been gone for a few weeks, and I haven’t picked up a racquet in six or seven months, it’s going to be a while before there’s even the potential to be on tour.”

Once Daniell is back on the tennis court, it will take time for him to get back to where he was before his injury and he doesn’t want to rush.

“It’s slow and steady. I’ll start with 15-20 minutes once my knee is fully healthy,” he said.

“It’s not just a physical thing, but also a mental challenge. If you haven’t trusted your knee in so long that you can forget about it when you’re on the tennis court, this step takes time.

“I’m going to accumulate five to 10 minutes a day, until I can comfortably punch for a few hours. But also being able to serve a few hundred times a day without hurting your shoulder takes time to rebuild that muscle strength.

When Daniell spoke to Stuff shortly after his injury, he said he wasn’t sure he would return to the tour and that he might just retire. Six months later it’s still a possibility, but says the chance to play in the Paris Olympics in 2024 is attractive.

“It’s still not final for me,” he said of playing again.

“There’s still a chance that the knee is just sore and I’ve had a long enough career that I don’t want to keep cringing and suffering.

“I don’t want to commit to anything at this point, but what burns inside me is the idea of ​​another Olympics.

“It’s appealing, but some things have to line up for it to become a reality.”

While Daniell was away from the tennis court, he was actively working on the High Impact Athletes organization he founded, where professional athletes can donate a portion of their earnings to charities that have the greatest impact. in the world.

Those already involved have included Stefanos Tsitsipas, Joseph Parker, Ryan Fox and two-time Olympic sailing gold medalist Hannah Mills.

Black Stick Hugo Inglis has become managing director of HIA and those who have recently signed up include Black Ferns Sevens star, as well as tennis players Elise Mertens and Alize Cornet.

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