Indian number two single tennis player, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, has left for New York with the hope of participating in the US Open beginning August 31.
He is making his trip to the US, which is the epicenter of the dreaded virus at a time when many of the top tennis professionals are treading with caution. The likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer had announced their withdrawal from the Slam.
It was reported that the entry list ended with the 127th-ranked Sumit Nagal (at the time of making it) as the last man in the draw of 128. Prajnesh is leaving India despite not mailing the entry list, unlike his compatriot, Sumit Nagal, who presented the country’s number one and 122 in the latest world ATP ranking.
Three weeks after the list was compiled, few more players have announced their withdrawal. Unfortunately, Prajnesh was ranked world No. 132 at the time of the entry list. To make matters worse, he is currently at 136, having been out of competitive actions. Injury-plagued 2019 season made him drop from his career-high 75 in the world to his present position.
With this gamble the Indian is playing, he will need another player or two to pull out for him to get entry. The Chennai-based athlete departed for New York on Tuesday, after scrambling for various last-minute formalities. He still has till Thursday, which is the deadline for withdrawals to know his fate.
Admitting that the chances are very low, Prajnesh hopes can give it a shot if he is that close to being selected. This is because of the given the circumstances where those who might pull out in the last minute is not known yet. Some might pull out due to COVID-19 scare or late injuries.
It could be recalled that Prajnesh would have been selected in the 2018 French Open as a ‘lucky loser’ after Nick Kyrgios withdrew due to an elbow injury a day before the start. He had left Paris before he heard the news. So, he missed the chance to make his debut on the clay court.
So, he won’t want the same thing to repeat itself. He added that since he intends traveling to Europe soon, he had been going to New York quite a lot. So, he will have to start traveling at some point.
Meanwhile, he won’t be allowed entry US Open’s bio-secure bubble until he is in the draw. So, the 30-year-old has to get an accommodation in New York first on his arrival.
In case he misses out, Prajnesh could be moving to Europe to prepare ahead of next month’s French Open.
Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed