The tight-knit nature of New Zealand’s athlete community is responsible for doubles specialist Marcus Daniell becoming the newest EcoAthlete Champion.

“I was lucky enough to be introduced to the EcoAthletes team by fellow Kiwi and field hockey star Hugo Inglis, whom I met at the Rio Olympics,” Daniell said. “We connected there over our passion for the environment. He recently shared EcoAthletes’ mission to educate athletes to speak out on climate. I thought, ‘this is for me’, and here I am!”

Marcus Daniell (Photo credit: Marcus Daniell)

Daniell’s passion for climate action is the result of a lifelong appreciation for the environment.

“I grew up on a mountainous farm in New Zealand where it was impossible to feel separate from the animals and the environment,” said the 30 year-old Daniell. “I’ve skied, snowboarded, surfed, and hiked since I could walk. Loving nature has been part of me from the beginning, and protecting it simply makes sense.”

The world’s 49th ranked doubles player hopes that his involvement with EcoAthletes can help him have success in moving the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) forward on climate and other environmental initiatives.

“It has been quite frustrating trying to push green initiatives with the ATP,” acknowledged Daniell. “Everyone has good intentions but there are serious fiscal obstacles – most notably keeping sponsors happy. There is also a lack of awareness of the effects climate change is having on our sport now. It’s been an uphill battle but I hope we can get more players to become EcoAthletes and show the ATP powers that be that going green will appeal to the younger generation of players and fans — a group with which tennis is desperate to connect.”

Ultimately, Daniell’s aspirations on climate go beyond the ATP Tour: “I want to be part of creating such a huge groundswell of climate change momentum that it changes the face of policy and behavior. Being a part of EcoAthletes moves me in the right direction.

Follow Marcus on Instagram at marcusdaniellnz and on Twitter @MarcusDaniell

Photo at top: Marcus Daniell prepares to rip a backhand (Photo credit: Marcus Daniell)