Prajnesh Gunneswaran banks on withdrawals to make US Open cut

Prajnesh Gunneswaran has played in all the last five Grand Slams and the Indian tennis player is hoping to extend that run.

By Subhayan Dutta

India’s second highest-ranked singles tennis player Prajnesh Gunneswaran is hoping to get a lucky entry into the upcoming US Open.

The US Open has already seen stars like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios withdrawing from the event.

However, for world No. 136 Prajnesh Gunneswaran to enter the Grand Slam in New York, there must be a few more absentees before the men’s singles draw is announced on August 27.

The 30-year-old Gunneswaran, who competed at the US Open last year, intends to return to competitive tennis circuit with the Grand Slam.

“My future plans depend on the US Open happening as that will be the first call. Everything else isn’t that important,” the Chennai lad told the Olympic Channel.

With the COVID-19 pandemic suspending all international tennis events for months, the US Open had to do without the qualifying rounds this year. Sixteen players qualify for the 128-man field in Grand Slams.

Top-ranked Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal has already got direct entry for the event at Flushing Meadows.

India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran hopes to return to the competitive tennis circuit with the US Open.

This year's US Open will see 120 players qualifying based on their ATP rankings, apart from the eight wild card entries, which further slashed Gunneswaran’s chances.

French Open next on Prajnesh’s mind

After reaching his career-best world ranking of 75, Prajnesh Gunneswaran had to endure an injury-plagued 2019 that saw Sumit Nagal overtake the 30-year-old big server. The lockdown pegged Gunneswaran further back.

The Asian Games bronze medallist, however, is now fully fit and has a plan chalked out for the coming months.

“After the US I plan to travel to Europe and play a couple of tournaments before French Open to find my feet on clay,” Gunneswaran told the Times of India .

“If my US Open plans fall through, I will travel to Europe earlier," Gunneswaran added.