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Trungelliti Tennis Newest Star Achieves Folk-Hero Status at French Open 2018 With Win Over Bernie Tomic • Following 10-hour Road-Trip

Photo by @rolandgarros via Twitter



By Ricky Dimon


Following an epic road trip that you normally see only in movies (cue “Field of Dreams”), Marco Trungelliti won his improbable French Open first-round match 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 at the expense of Bernard Tomic on Monday afternoon in Paris.


After losing in the final round of qualifying last week and getting drawn as the ninth lucky loser in line for a place in the main draw, Trungelliti assumed that he no chance of a second life at Roland Garros. As such, he headed back to his residence in Barcelona.


• But everyone else left, too.

(the rest of the qualifiers that lost in qualifying are referred to as LUCKY LOSERS • LL) They can get in a draw when a Main draw players pulls out of a tourney prior to their first round MATCH.


Seventh lucky loser Mohamed Safwat was the only man who fell in qualifying to sign in for a potential LL spot on Sunday. Safwat got in when Viktor Troicki withdrew that morning (the Egyptian eventually lost to world No. 5 Grigor Dimitrov). Nick Kyrgios withdrew later on Sunday, but no other name was on the sign-in sheet under Safwat’s.


Prajnesh Gunneswaran was in line to be lucky loser No. 8, but he had already bolted for a Challenger tournament in Italy and was entered in the main draw there. Rules mandate that a player already in the main draw of one event cannot withdraw and enter a different event. Thus the Indian was stuck in Italy.


Trungelliti was not stuck in Barcelona.


After getting word that Gunneswaran was out and he would be in as long as he did nothing more than etch his signature on a piece of paper prior to Monday morning’s sign-in deadline, the Argentine packed his bags–and his family–in a car and set off for Paris.


Nine hours later, just before midnight, Trungelliti arrived with his brother, mom, and 88-year-old grandmother.


The 28-year-old signed in (as did many others this time around, realizing the error of their ways for not doing so on Sunday, when anyone–even a first-round qualifying loser–would have taken Kyrgios’ spot with a simple sign-in). For Trungelliti, the rest is history.


Photo by @rolandgarros via Twitter

After two hours and 54 minutes against Tomic, the Trungelliti family’s 10-hour road trip was without a doubt worth it.


“Actually, my grandma was in the shower,” the world No. 190 reflected during a press conference that filled up the entire main interview room with hordes of media members. “And I told her, ‘Okay, we go to Paris.’ There [were] many flights canceled, so I didn’t trust (flying) too much. And then there [were no trains], so the best option was always just take the car. I drove a couple of hours. And then the rest of the work, my brother did it.


“We got here 11:00 or something like that. So it was 10 hours.


“If you’re not…in Buenos Aires, then (a) thousand kilometers is like nothing. You make (a) thousand kilometers and there is no city between. So it wasn’t a big deal for us. We got used to it. We had highway, so it’s perfect. (In) Argentina, there is one–we call it the Ruta; it’s just one way and the other one is coming against you. So you never know if you’re going to be alive after two hours driving.”


In Paris, against all odds, Trungelliti is still alive and well.


10sBalls is thrilled. Our great friend was also a Lucky Loser • Good Luck Ruben Bemelmans


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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