For the very first time in his career, Prajnesh Gunneswaran will have a fellow countryman giving him company in the singles main draw of Grand Slams this year. India's top-ranked singles player will play his opening round of the US Open against fifth seed and world No.
5 Daniil Medvedev whereas Sumit Nagal takes on Roger Federer. "It's just amazing. That is the kind of match everyone dreams of, it's goosebumps stuff when you see the draw. Maybe the chances of winning are not high, but you want to play a match like that and go out there all guns blazing”.
He further added, "Sumit deserves to get a match like this after being a set and 1-4 down (in the final qualifying round). I'm happy for him and hope he enjoys the atmosphere”. Speaking about the progress in Indian tennis with this achievement, Gunneswaran pointed out, "It's a step in the right direction for sure, but the popularity of tennis in India won't increase overnight.
Two guys have to consistently be doing well in Slams main draw for that. Of course, there will be a certain amount of eyeballs, especially with Sumit playing Federer and me playing Daniil. But in general, it's not good enough.
To create more impact for our sport in India, we need to be consistently successful”. Though he hasn’t won a match at the Grand Slam level this year, he isn’t stressing much about it. "It doesn't matter even if I lose seven first rounds and then I make to a quarters, I'll be happy with that.
I'm interested in being able to win consistently at this level. Obviously, it'll be nice to get those wins under the belt but I'm not someone who will think about how many rounds I've lost to get there," he said.
Speaking about his match, he assessed, "It's a tough draw. Daniil is playing very well right now. But I'm the underdog and I can go out there and play my game. It's going to be a big court with a lot of people watching, so it's going to be exciting."