Till last year Prajnesh Gunneswaran was still trying to come to terms with the ATP circuit. Come 2018 and we have already seen Prajnesh`s big game that has given him the form of his life. It gave him his first ATP Challenger at Anning. If that was not enough then he accounted for the red hot Denis Shapovalov at the Mercedes Cup. It also gave him his first qualifying appearances at the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Also his win in the deciding rubber against China had put India in the World Group Play-Off. To enhance his growing reputation he won the bronze medal for India at the Asiad 2018 in the singles category.
I caught up with Prajnesh as he came back after India`s not so successful outing against the strong Serbian side in the Davis Cup World Group-Off. However, it has only made him battle hardened for future battles.
ME: It must be a great feeling to have brought a Bronze medal for the country. How are you feeling and what were your expectations before you landed at the Asiad?
Prajnesh Gunneswaran at the podium of the Asian Games 2018
Prajnesh: Yes, one of the best things that could have happened for me. Definitely one of the biggest in my career so far. I knew I had a medal chance. I have been having a good season and I am playing well, so I wanted to use the momentum and make it count. I am glad I did it for the country.
ME: You are a late bloomer and you are at the peak of your career at the age of 28 years? What have been the major reasons for this sudden turn around?
Prajnesh: I wouldn’t really say I am a late bloomer. I just had a major setback because I was injured for nearly 5 years (2011-2015) where I played tennis on and off and couldn’t really compete the way I needed to, to be at this level.
Prajnesh: It was my first tournament on grass. But clearly my game is well suited for grass when I am playing well and since I have a good serve and forehand and when it is clicking, I can be dangerous on grass or any of the faster surfaces.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran at the French Open 2018
Prajnesh: Haha,yes I made a choice to play the week after and I couldn’t back out. I would say that French Open could possibly be my favourite slam. But I really don’t have a true favourite to be honest. Ask me in a few years, maybe I’ll have a better idea. I haven’t been to the main site at Wimbledon since the qualies site is different. So I haven’t really seen it all yet.
ME: You have been training at Alexander Waske Tennis University. For how long you have been training there and how has it helped your game? Also it seems to be favorites among the Indians.
Prajnesh: I have been at TU since 2011. Right after a year at college in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
ME: You are hovering around the 150 mark on the ATP ranking now. You must be aiming top 100 in sometime from now?