New Zealand's Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell win tennis doubles bronze

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 30: Marcus Daniell of Team New Zealand and Michael Venus of Team New Zealand celebrate victory against Tennys Sandgren of Team USA and Austin Krajicek of Team USA in their Men's Doubles Bronze Medal match on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Tennis Park on July 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 30: Marcus Daniell of Team New Zealand and Michael Venus of Team New Zealand celebrate victory against Tennys Sandgren of Team USA and Austin Krajicek of Team USA in their Men's Doubles Bronze Medal match on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Tennis Park on July 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The unseeded pair have won New Zealand's first Olympic Tennis medal  with a straight sets over Team USA's Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren at Ariake Tennis Park 

New Zealand's Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell have created history by winning their nations first Olympic Tennis medal with a 7-6 6-2 win over American's Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren in the bronze medal match.

The last time a New Zealand player won a medal in tennis at an Olympic Games was at Stockholm 1912 when Anthony Wilding won bronze but he was competing for Australasia - New Zealand and Australia competed together until the 1920 Olympic Games.

Winning a bronze medal was a moment of shock, disbelief and pure joy for Daniell and Venus, who don’t play together regularly on the tour circuit.

After celebrating on court, tears begun to flow for Daniell. Although they weren't his first tears of the Olympic Games he noted in the press conference, after they won the quarter-final and were later in the chance for a medal it's "got to him".

"It just means so much. It means more when you have the Silver Fern on your chest and you're performing for your country," he said. "You feel the group energy of New Zealand and the spirit of New Zealand when you're in the Athletes' Village and see these photos from back home of everyone who's getting behind the team."

The 31-year-old also paid tribute to Wilding in the press conference.

"To follow in his footsteps, he was New Zealand's best tennis players, I think he won a couple of Wimbledon's, is surreal and I mean it hasn't sunk in yet," Daniell said.

"I'm in a bit of disbelief and I think this will take some weeks to process but couldn't be happier."

"We're a small country but love our sports. Both of us grew up watching the Olympics and to see all the great athletes before us come here and win medals, firstly just to be here and be part of the team is very special but to win a medal on top of that is unbelievable and I'm just super happy and proud of us," Venus added.

After a tough straight sets loss in the semi-final to Croatia's Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig yesterday, the Kiwi duo bounced back to win a tough opening set against the Americans.

Venus and Marcus only continued where they left off to dominate the second set before celebrating their historic moment at Ariake Tennis Park waving New Zealand flag proudly.

The pair have played a little bit together in Davis Cups but it's their knowledge of each other over those years as well as opening up to each other that Venus believes helped them win bronze.

"We also shared a room here so if you really want to get to know someone, be put in two single beds next to each other in the extreme heat. I'd say there was definitely some bonding going on there," Daniell laughed.

The win marks a new piece of history for tennis in New Zealand, where the sport of rugby union dominates.

"I think it's just a different level, New Zealand is just so Olympics focussed - it's such a huge deal so to show Kiwi tennis players can win medals, I really hope that jump starts the interest and passion for tennis in the younger generation," Daniell said.

For the USA, it's the first time they missed out on a medal at the Olympic Games since Antwerp 1920, when no American's entered the tournament.

Since the sport was reinstated to the Olympics at Seoul 1988, Team USA have won 14 gold medals, three silver and six bronze.

"There’s not much you can say about that except it's pretty, pretty devastating to lose that one," Krajicek said. "You give yourself a chance to get a medal and then to lose those two (the men's doubles semi-final) is tough, but you have to give those guys credit today. They played well."

Up next is the gold medal match which is an all-Croatian affair between Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic and Marin Cilic/Ivan Dodig.