French Open: Marco Trungelliti hits jackpot after marathon journey


Certainly, for almost all of the 1,977 who’re ranked total within the three tiers of males’s skilled tennis, it’s not about successful a grand slam title however merely being within the hat. First-round prize cash can cowl bills for some time on the 11-month tennis tour.

Which is why Argentina’s Marco Trungelliti was keen to go to nice lengths to make the French Open. And now he’s into the second spherical besides.

Trungelliti has solely performed 16 matches on the highest degree — whereas taking part in 434 in tennis’ minor leagues. So when the 28-year-old realized he had an opportunity to succeed in the promised land of a significant, he wasn’t going to bypass the chance regardless of an extended trek.

He initially misplaced within the closing spherical of qualifying Thursday to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, which ought to have been the top of his story. However as increasingly spots opened up within the draw for fortunate losers — an eighth berth materialized courtesy of Nick Kyrgios’ departure Sunday — Trungelliti instantly had a means in.

In Barcelona, the place he resides, Trungelliti set off for the 1,000-kilometer highway journey in a automotive along with his brother, mum and 88-year-old grandma, who have been all visiting.

They reached the French capital shortly earlier than midnight Sunday. With intermittent espresso breaks, the journey lasted a draining 10 hours.

Grandma in bathe

“Truly, my grandma was within the bathe and I instructed her, ‘OK, we go to Paris,'” Trungelliti mentioned. “There are lots of flights canceled, so I did not belief (that) an excessive amount of. After which there isn’t a prepare now (to) France so the most suitable choice was all the time, simply take the automotive.”

The world No. 190 did not have a lot time to prepared for his opener — his match was scheduled for the earliest slot of 11 a.m. — however nonetheless beat another person who was within the qualifying draw, Bernard Tomic, 6-Four 5-7 6-Four 6-4.

Grandma Daphne celebrated, finally.

“She has no thought what tennis is, actually,” Trungelliti mentioned. “Truly, she instructed me that she did not know that it was the top of the match till all people was clapping.”

He’s assured to go away the match 99,000 euros ($115,000) richer even when he loses to Italy’s Marco Cecchinato Wednesday, a mammoth sum given his profession tally in 10 years coming into the French Open sat at $578,000.

The eight fortunate losers are the assured most within the males’s draw of a grand slam since 2000, mentioned the ITF. There have been solely two at this 12 months’s Australian Open and 5 altogether in 2017.

The excessive quantity might have one thing to do with a rule change at grand slams this 12 months: Gamers who pull out previous to their first-round match nonetheless get half of the prize cash, with the opposite half going to the fortunate loser.

Marco Trungelliti hits a forehand in his win over Bernard Tomic at the French Open.

It was carried out to minimize retirements or lopsided matches when gamers take to court docket injured or unwell.

Usually a participant like Trungelliti would solely be interviewed by journalists from his nation — if that — however such was the curiosity in his fable that he was dropped at the primary interview room at Roland Garros.

Not on social media, he mentioned it was his spouse that bought the phrase out about his unlikely path to the 16th arrondissement.

Massive crowd

“I by no means had a press convention with so many individuals. Not even after I performed in opposition to (Marin) Cilic two years in the past,” mentioned Trungelliti, referring to his win in opposition to the 2014 US Open champion at Roland Garros.

Tomic is considered one of many unhealthy boys in tennis — his fellow Australian, Kyrgios, is attempting to shed that popularity — telling reporters he was going to depend his “thousands and thousands” after he fell in January’s Australian Open qualifying.

Whereas Tomic might trump Trungelliti’s financial institution stability, he’s seemingly attempting to resurrect a profession that noticed him attain the Wimbledon quarterfinals and attain 17th on the earth two years in the past. Combating his means by means of qualifying on his least favourite floor will not be a foul begin.

Tomic, nevertheless, was in no temper to speak Monday, providing up 15 brief sentences to 10 questions in his necessary post-match information convention.

Elsewhere, there have been blended fortunes for the comeback quartet of Victoria Azarenka, Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova. Clay king Rafael Nadal led Simone Bolelli by two units when rain compelled the conclusion of the tussle to be pushed again to Tuesday, proper earlier than Serena Williams makes her own grand slam comeback.

Solely just lately capable of journey outdoors California within the aftermath of a custody dispute, Azarenka misplaced to former highly-rated junior Katerina Siniakova 7-5 7-5. Clay has historically been the twice grand slam winner’s least productive floor and she or he had a mere three warmup matches on the filth.

Former champ out

Wawrinka solely resurfaced from three months out attributable to his troublesome knee final week and the 2015 winner and 2017 finalist succumbed to his fellow tour veteran, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, for a second time on the French Open. His 6-2 3-6 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-Three reverse will see the Swiss exit the highest 200.

“If I’ve to play some Challengers, I’ve no drawback with that,” mentioned Wawrinka. “I received three grand slams in my profession and I do know what it takes to do it. And my aim is to get to my prime. In the end I shall be.”

Djokovic gained momentum by testing Nadal within the semifinals of the Rome Masters this month. It was a a lot wanted increase of confidence after a pair of demoralizing defeats in Indian Wells and Miami in March and falling to the gifted however then-ranked No. 140 Martin Klizan in Barcelona.

The Serb — who received 4 straight majors from 2015-2016, finishing the job in Paris — defeated Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-Three 6-Four 6-4. So far as first matches at grand slams go, it was about proper for Djokovic. He hit loads of tennis balls, acclimatizing to the heavy situations, however nonetheless received in straight units.

Kvitova contested her first match of 2017 on the French Open following a knife assault in her residence 5 months earlier that left her with nerve harm to her left, taking part in hand.

Twelve months in the past the Czech was merely glad to again. Now she is among the contenders after claiming 4 titles in 2018, together with two on the clay.

The twice Wimbledon winner had a tricky opener — in opposition to a clay-court specialist who made the fourth spherical final 12 months, Veronica Cepede Royg — however prevailed 3-6 6-1 7-5. Additionally advancing was Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki, who overcame one among this 12 months’s breakthrough gamers on the ladies’s tour, Danielle Collins, 7-6 (7-2) 6-1.

Nadal, bidding for a record-extending 11th French Open title, received the primary two units 6-Four 6-Three although trailed 3-Zero within the third. Bolelli is a fortunate loser like Trungelliti — however his path to the primary draw wasn’t as sophisticated.

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