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Home Tennis Air pollution as bad as India: Prajnesh Gunneswaran after reaching Australian Open...

Air pollution as bad as India: Prajnesh Gunneswaran after reaching Australian Open qualifiers final

Prajnesh Gunneswaran moved into the final round of the Australian Open qualifiers with a 3-set win over Yannick Hanfmann.

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Prajnesh Gunneswaran moved into the final round of the Australian Open qualifiers with a 3-set win over Yannick Hanfmann, a former top-100 player, with a score of 16 62 61. This was a solid win for the Indian No.1 who had been coming back from a tough phase. 

After the match, ITD member from Melbourne, Kshitij Murali spoke to Prajnesh Gunneswaran to get his thoughts on the match. 

Image: Indian Tennis Daily

Q) Thoughts on the match? You went down in the first set but came back stronger. 

I didn’t feel great in the beginning and honestly, I wasn’t sure if I would get out of that hole. I wasn’t serving well – having problems with my arm, wrist and so on. When I went in, he was all over on my serve. On the first shot, he just smashed the backhand and I ended up running all over the court. 

I was trying to look for solutions but he was playing a bit too well. At 0-4, I had a chance to break but did not convert and he held onto that service game. However, it gave me confidence that even when he is playing so well, I am getting chances to break his serve. This means if I had been in the match, I would have had my chances. 

Prajnesh Gunneswaran
Image: Indian Tennis Daily

Especially the 0-3 game on my serve in the first set – I felt I should have held on somehow as the second break was too crucial. Once I lost the break there, it more or less sealed the fate of the match. Had I held that service game and then had that breakpoint, then things would have been different. 

Prajnesh Gunneswaran
Image: Indian Tennis Daily

I just put my head down and thought I’ll work my way back in the second set. It was also a little bit windy. I am not sure if he really likes these conditions or not. I am usually better than other players in these conditions as I play with a lot of spins. Today, it wasn’t easy for me too as I don’t have too much spin to go to right now. I controlled my pace well and used my legs as much as I could. He framed a couple of shots here and there under pressure. 

I utilised that opening as I broke him at 3-2 out of nowhere and quickly wrapped up the set. That service game which I held right after the break was very crucial, it was a long game. 

I played a good 3rd set. It could have gone either way as he had a breakpoint against me early on. I stayed calm and every time I had a chance, I took it today in the 2nd and the 3rd sets. I was a bit lucky as well as it is not often that you take most of the breakpoint opportunities you get. So I am happy with the way it went today. 

Prajnesh Gunneswaran
Image: Indian Tennis Daily

Q) What is the status of your injury?

I have issues but I will finish this tourney and then look into it. It is a Grand Slam after all and so cannot really complain. I would be happier if I was completely fine. However, I would rather be like this and win, than being perfect and losing. 

Q) Have the courts been slower than last year?

I think so. 

Q) How are you dealing with the tough conditions?

Today it was cold and windy, so it was fine. It wasn’t easy during my previous match – it was not hot but there was something. It was very humid and stuffy. 

Prajnesh Gunneswaran
Image: Indian Tennis Daily

Regarding the smoke and haze, I didn’t really feel it much because it is as bad in India too. The day when they said that the matches are being stopped, I had checked the pollution levels back home and it was around 700 because of Pongal. So it didn’t impact me as much. 

This article was originally published on indiantennisdaily.com.

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