Prajnesh keen to regain title at Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger
Winner of singles title in the 2018 edition, India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran is keen on regaining the Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger title when the next edition is held at Bengaluru from Sunday (Feb 6)
Winner of singles title in the 2018 edition, India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran is keen on regaining the Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger title when the next edition is held at Bengaluru from Sunday (Feb 6).
Prajnesh, who treats Bengaluru as his second home, had defeated compatriot Saketh Myneni in the final in 2018 and lost to France's Benjamin Bonzi in the 2020 edition organised by the won in the 2018 edition of the Challenger 125 tournament organised by the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA). The qualifiers will be held on Sunday (Feb 6).
"I have great memories of Bengaluru. I practiced at the KSLTA for a fairly long period and I have had a good outing at the Challengers. I have many titles here and it is like a second home for me in India other than Chennai. I am looking forward to coming back to the City which is very familiar to me and winning would definitely add to my joy," said the 32-year-old was quoted as saying in a release by the organisers.
Currently ranked 228 in the world, Prajnesh, who got into the main draw of the Bengaluru Open, expects stiff competition during the weeks to come.
"Definitely, it is going to be tough. I'm sure there are a lot of good players, especially because it's right after Pune and then the two Challenges are in a row. So a lot of the higher-ranked players end up staying, which is not necessarily good for the Indians, but it is good to have an event with quality players. It's always nice to watch and be a part of it," he said from Pune where he is playing in the Tata Open Maharashtra.
Prajnesh, who has bagged two ATP Challenger titles and nine ITF titles so far, was not in the best of shape during last year which also saw Covid-19 curtailing most of the efforts of the players across the world.
"It was surely not a fun year. Just having visa was not enough as there were new updates about regulations and measures every week. It was difficult travelling which was hectic and stressful," said the Southpaw. "I have not had a great year in terms of my results as I have been carrying some injuries. I could not train much but over the last two months I have gotten past that and I am raring to go," said Prajnesh.
Speaking about the back-to-back events, Prajnesh said such a schedule augurs well for the players especially the Indians. "It is nice to hold back-to-back events as it makes things easier for everyone. You don't need to move from one place to another and get used to the conditions, flights, hotels, etc," while adding "We need to have at least about 10 Challengers in India and more and more AITA and ITF events for our players to get a chance to hop onto the bigger Tours. In these times when the events are scare, the twin legs of Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger comes as a boon to the players."
Prajnesh who had reached the second round of the qualifying in the first Grand Slam of the year in Australia this year, hopes for a good show at his favourite hunting ground.
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