Roland Garros opening day was replete with drama galore, more for Indian tennis. Fans went berserk when the 21st seed Nick Krygios was forced to withdraw from his opening match against Bernard Tomic.
The withdrawal pulled a mayhem with it. Very natural though as India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran who was in line as the eighth lucky loser to fill the spot in the Main draw of the French Open had already left Paris.
The World No. 183, Gunneswaran must not have thought in his wildest dreams that a spot for him in the Main draw was even a possibility after he lost in his third and final qualifying round to Elias Ymer at Roland Garros on Friday. With eight lucky losers sneaking into the main draw, Prajnesh had a golden chance that would help him get the monkey of his back of his previous two failed attempts at qualifying for Grand Slams.
However the Indian left-hander had already left Paris for the Vicenza Challenger in Italy where he was into The Main Draw. Making meat of the opportunity was Argentina’s World No. 190 Marco Trungelliti, the next lucky loser in line, who was driving down from Barcelona to cash into the chance that the Indian failed to grab.
Numerous reactions both positive and negative started pouring on Twitter from fans. The last minute withdrawal rules and opinions from stalwarts created agitation among tennis fans who worship the sport and revel in the adrenaline gush of watching watch their nation’s star slug it out on a monumental stage of a Major.
According to ITF Rules, only one tournament per week is allowed for a player. Since Prajnesh was already into the Main draw of the challenger event he would not be allowed to get into the main draw in Paris. Of course there are exceptions if the Player is released by the Executive Vice President of the tournament then he can go and take the chance.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran was the only Indian to reach the final round of qualifying at Roland Garros this year. Earlier Ramkumar Ramanathan, Sumit Nagal and Ankita Raina all bowed out in the first rounds of qualifiers.
World No. 23 Nick Krygios who just had won a doubles title alongside American Jack Sock a day before in Lyon tweeted an apology conveying that he would not be able to play in Paris given his elbow injury. Amused with so many withdrawals and lucky losers getting lucky, everyone literally started comparing the Roland Garros drama to some cinematic plot that was filled with thrill and excitement on whether the Indian could or could not make it to Paris on time.
Although it was a terrible heartbreak for Indian tennis fans, it remains to see how Prajnesh Gunneswaran fares in the season ahead.
With the Indian’s failed attempt to make the Grand Slam Main draw, the nation’s hopes in singles now rest on World No. 94 Yuki Bhambri who will play in his first round against Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans at Roland Garros tomorrow.