Indians have to step up and grab chances at Majors: Devvarman

Source :IANS
Author :IANS
Last Updated: Sun, Jan 26th, 2020, 01:19:51hrs
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Prajnesh Gunneswaran had reached the first round of the ongoing Australian Open where he lost to world no. 146 Tatsuma Ito 6-4, 6-2, 7-5. He had got there as a lucky loser and was playing with a heavily strapped left arm owing to a wrist and elbow problem, thus robbing him of the big serve that normally wins him points.

"The big difference here is playing five sets as opposed to three," Devvarman told IANS. "Prajnesh has beaten good players in two and three-set matches before. Last year he reached the third round of Indian Wells beating one or two good players along the way. I think at this point the next step is to keep working hard on your fitness and when you get opportunities like this you step up to the plate and take them."

Devvarman, who is a panellist for Sony which is broadcasting the Australian Open in India, felt that the draw in Melbourne was a favourable one for Prajnesh. "This was a really good draw for him, he was facing a wild card in the first round. Certainly a huge opportunity and even he was pretty disappointed if you see his interviews post the match. Tough, tough loss but he is a hard working guy so I hope that next time he gets this opportunity he wins the match," he said.

Prajnesh's match marks the ninth consecutive time that an Indian player has made it to the first round of a Grand Slam. Yuki Bhambri, Saketh Myneni and Sumit Nagal are the current players apart from Prajnesh to have done so with Nagal famously winning his first set against Roger Federer at the US Open last year.

Indian players have won Challenger series and done well in ATP 1000 Series apart from reaching the first round of Grand Slams over the past few years. Prajnesh and Bhambri have even made it to the top 100 of the ATP rankings. Devvarman said that the trend bodes well for Indian tennis and it is down to the players focussing on improving themselves.

"There is no point looking at it negatively. All you can do as a player is to work hard and take that next step. Prajnesh, Ramkumar (Ramanathan), Sumit these are the three guys that we have in men's singles and all three of them are working pretty hard. In the next few slams I do expect some of them to come good," said Devvarman.

(Rohit Mundayur can be contacted at rohit.m@ians.in)

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