In May this year, Marco Trungelliti became a global sensation. An unprecedented eight players had pulled out of the French Open singles draw and Trungelliti, with his brother, mother and grandmother in tow, drove for 10 hours and 600 miles from Barcelona to
Paris, in a car that was rented for a family vacation, to grab the last available lucky loser's spot.
That journey, chronicled on social media through a series of photos by Trungelliti’s wife, generated great interest in India, for, if Prajnesh Gunneswaran had been at the site, the entry would have been his as he was better ranked and would have made his Major debut.
But Prajnesh, who had lost in the final round of qualifying, had already left for a Challenger in Italy. Trungelliti, after losing, hadn’t entered any tournament. The rules stipulate that one cannot pull out of a tournament to play in another. The Argentine journeyman won a round at Roland Garros and earned $92,000. Prajnesh lost his opener in Italy and took home $769.
“He was joking that I owed him a lot of money,” Trungelliti said with a laugh on the sidelines of the Bengaluru Open, where Prajnesh is the fourth seed. “But it happens. You're not going to spend a week in Paris without playing any tournament. I didn't go anywhere because I had back pain. It was a shame that he lost easily in the Challenger."
For the 28-year-old, such road trips were par for the course. “In South America we have similar journeys. But yes, we don't go to a Grand Slam like this! For three days I was lying on my bed. That's not a good preparation! But the trip was special. I had my family and it was time for some good conversations. Then the day after it was better
because I won.”
In Bengaluru, Trungelliti, despite being the second seed, lost early in both singles and doubles. He is still undecided on playing the Pune Challenger next week. The distance to Pune was comparable to that between Barcelona and Paris, he was told. “No no, I can’t drive here,” he exclaimed.
“I will crash in every corner. I don't know how you drive here. Unbelievable!”
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