ITF singles title hands Prajnesh Gunneswaran fresh hope of reclaiming top-100 spot despite Bengaluru Open hurdle

ByAratrick Mondal, Kolkata
Feb 23, 2023 08:45 AM IST

The ITF title win in Kuwait may not be as perfect a comeback by his standards, but Prjanesh, now 33 and still hopeful of a return to the top-100, is willing to take it step by step.

Being positive can make the unexpected look possible. Prajnesh Gunneswaran knows that, believes that and now has lived that. After the highs of 2019, where he had made it to the singles main draw of all the four Grand Slams en route to reaching a career-best ranking of 75, Prajnesh's run was bogged down by recurrent wrist injury and other health issues. But long hours of practice and belief was eventually rewarded with a $25,000 ITF singles title in Kuwait last month. It may not be as perfect a comeback by his standards, but Prjanesh, now 33 and still hopeful of a return to the top-100, is willing to take it step by step.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran
Prajnesh Gunneswaran

The India no.1 now has nine Futures titles to his name and two ATP Challengers trophies, but the title win in Kuwait was his first since being crowned the champion in the Bengaluru Open in 2018. Prajnesh however humbly played down the question on the significance of a first title in five years.

We're now on WhatsApp. Click to join.

"It is always good to win a title on any level. I just wanted to get just a few matches, get as many wins as possible, build my confidence and get my rhythm back. And yes I won a title. I actually wasn't really thinking how long it has been. I am just glad it happened and look forward to building on the confidence I got from there," said Prajnesh in conversation with Hindustan Times.

ALSO READ: New-look Bengaluru Open promises treat for tennis lovers with tough field, assures Tournament Director Sunil Yajaman

When asked if the morale boost from the Kuwait win adds a new perspective to the goals he might look to achieve despite age not being on his side, the southpaw, presently ranked 321 in the world, revealed that it was all part of his larger plan to build the momentum towards reclaiming a spot in the top-100 in ATP rankings.

"Not really. It was part of the plan that I had. It wasn't really unexpected that I would win a Futures title. I knew that if I keep playing and keep getting better at some point I would win a Futures title. Certainly on the path to my journey back to the top-100, hopefully, a Futures title is not really surprising," he explained.

As far as 2023 is concerned, Prajnesh was rather modest in admitting that his primary aim remains to stay injury free. "To stay healthy and play as many matches as possible and slowly start building up the momentum."

The 33-year-old has indeed shown glimpses of his old self since the Kuwait win. Albeit suffering an early exit in the Chennai Open Challenger, Prajnesh picked two impressive wins in the qualifiers of the ongoing Bengaluru Open before going down 3-6, 4-6 down to Novak Djokovic prodigy, Hammad Medjedovic, in the first round of the main draw.

"I had good rounds in the qualifying and went in with two nice wins under my belt but I could not convert any of the breaks I had today which pretty much bogged down the match. I had one break point in the match and I gave it away. Just being a matter of not being good on the big moments," he said on calling back on his campaign in the Bengaluru Open.

The Chennai lad also clarified that he wishes to remain in the singles circuit, contrary to the present trend in Indian tennis to shifting from singles to doubles in bid to increase their shot at Grand Slam glory. "No. I will only be concentrating on singles," he said.

"Exciting news! Hindustan Times is now on WhatsApp Channels Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest news!" Click here!
Story Saved
Live Score
Saved Articles
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals