Last year, Indian No.1 Prajnesh Gunneswaran was ranked No.260 on the ATP Charts and a year later he is ranked at a personal best of No.80 in the world. Speaking ahead of his first title defence, he said, “Consistent work in the right direction has given me good results [because] eventually when you have a certain standard of tennis you start winning a lot more matches regularly.
I think I always had a big game – I have a lot of power and I can attack the ball quite for my forehand and serve – it’s just that when I learned to wield the power in the right way I was able to win matches irrespective of the level”.
“When I am doing the right things with the way I can play, then I am able to win matches against extremely high-ranked players. If you do that really well then you can beat not necessarily anyone but you have the chance to beat anyone on a good day,” he further added.
Speaking about a strategic move about playing the ATP Masters 1000 series events, he said, “Entering two Masters 1000 when I had played only one 250 this year before that [a wildcard at the Maharashtra Open at home] I chose to take a risk.
If I am going to play up, then might as well play the really big events. These are the events I want to be competing at eventually and [I thought] if I am good enough to be here, then I am good enough to get consistent results at the 250s and 500s.
It was a bit of a gamble but it paid off”. Relatively late to arrive on the ATP Tour – at 28 years old being a late bloomer is not something he calls himself. “I wouldn’t say I am a late bloomer, I was pretty good when I was younger, it just so happened that I lost about five-six years to injury and I could not get to this level sooner”.
However, he does admit that his lost year play some small part in his psyche. “Of course I have a clock on me so I may value my time a little bit more than someone who is younger, which is natural”. “It’s got its advantages and disadvantages.
I am more mature than a lot of others since I have grown up, but it also a bit more physically than say if I was 21. But it’s a matter of understanding your body and I know that,” he added.