French Open 2018: Prajnesh Gunneswaran takes flight to Italy as spot opens up in ParisMay 28, 2018
Despite losing out in the third round of the French Open qualifiers, India’s third-highest ranked singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran was given an opportunity to make the main draw as a lucky loser. However, the 28-year-old had already confirmed his participation at next week’s Euro 64,000 Challenger in Vicenza, Italy, and as such, is not allowed to play the main draw in Paris.
Since the world No. 183 had already confirmed his participation at one event, he is not allowed to pull out of that and compete in another tournament in the same week.
On Sunday, world No. 23 Nick Kyrgios withdrew from Roland Garros, putting the Chennai-lad in contention for becoming the eight lucky loser to make it to the main draw of 128 players. Prajnesh, however, had already confirmed his participation for the Challenger on Friday, and had, in fact, boarded a flight to Italy when news broke of his chance to make the main draw.
Had Prajnesh not confirmed participation in Italy, he would have still had time to travel to Paris to sign-in as lucky loser. The Grand Slam rulebook states that a substitute player must “report to the Referee and sign the Lucky Loser Sign-In Record at least half-hour prior to the start of the first match of each day.”
Challenger in Vicenza
The match Prajnesh would have been slotted to play was to happen on Tuesday against Bernard Tomic, meaning he would have time till early morning that day to sign in. However, the southpaw had already informed organisers in Vicenza of his plan to compete on the clay courts there.
He will now play 25-year-old Italian Salvatore Caruso. Interestingly enough, Prajnesh had beaten Caruso in straight sets in the first round of the French Open qualifiers last week. The Indian then ousted Marcelo Arevalo before losing to Ymer in the third round.
It had been almost a month since Prajnesh played a competitive match. His last event saw him win his career’s biggest title when he beat Mohamed Safwat (another lucky loser) to win the USD 150,000 Anning Challenger in China last month. Shortly before that, he played and won a crucial fifth rubber match to secure the second round zonal Davis Cup tie for India when the travelled to China in early April.
On Sunday, Prajnesh had a chance to make his first ever Grand Slam main draw appearance, but he had already made the decision to compete elsewhere.