Australian Open | Would like to see more Indians reach the main draw, reveals Gunneswaran

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Australian Open | Would like to see more Indians reach the main draw, reveals Gunneswaran

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SportsCafe Desk

01/13/2019

Prajnesh Gunneswaran revealed that he would like to see more Indian youngsters reach the main draw at Grand Slams in the coming years after reaching the final round of the Australian Open. Gunneswaran defeated Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki in the third round of the qualifiers over the weekend.

Indian tennis ace Prajnesh Gunneswaran managed to secure a spot in the main draw of the upcoming Australian Open as he defeated Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki by a scoreline of 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4 in the third round of the qualifiers. In doing so, Gunneswaran became the third singles’ player after Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri to make the final draw of a major Grand Slam in recent years.

Gunneswaran, who is the top-ranked Indian singles’ player at the moment at 112, will meet American 20-year-old Frances Tiafoe, who is ranked 39, in the opening round of the Australian Open on Monday. In an interview, the lad from Chennai revealed that he would like to see more youngsters make the final draw of major Grand Slam tournaments in the coming years.

 “It’s a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good for me personally because obviously I get a bit more coverage and a bit more presence in the media. But I would also like to see more Indians in this part of the tournament, in the main draw, doing well, making it to the second week like we do in doubles,” Gunneswaran told Reuters.

However, Gunneswaran reckons that his exploits in the upcoming showpiece down under won’t make much of a change in the manner of how things are done in his home country.

“I don’t think there is any lack of motivation. We don’t have the system in place to produce players so no matter how much motivation is there we will not produce any players even if I make the final. 

“Somdev has been 70 and we had other players in the past who have been top 30 but that didn’t produce another 100 players. I don’t think me doing something here will make a drastic change. It will change my life but when it comes to Indian tennis I don’t think so,” Gunneswaran said.

Prajnesh had a strong 2018 season which saw him narrowly miss out on playing in the French Open main draw last year as a lucky loser as he left Paris early on to play a Challenger event.

 “We need an entire system and infrastructure, from coaches to fitness trainers, a centre where the youngsters can go and play and develop and get better. 

“We don’t have that kind of a consistent system in India. Here I am playing a professional event and I have to focus and do everything that I can to do well. Obviously there is a certain amount of expectation that comes with being currently the number one in India. I am going to step on the court and give it my best and hope that I can come out on top,” Gunneswaran concluded.

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