This is a historic day in Indian Tennis. For the first time in 34 years, we have two Indians in the singles main draw of the US Open. The last time this happened was way back in 1985 (Wikipedia). The match lived upto the expectations of the Indian Tennis fans with Prajnesh playing a very aggressive game and matching Daniil Medvedev on most aspects to bring about a very close set which Prajnesh lost 46.
It was all downhill from there on for the Indian as his mobility was severely impacted by the niggle in his foot and was just not able to maintain the same level thereafter. Prajnesh lost the match 46 16 26.
Some excerpts below from the conversation with World No.5 Daniil Medvedev on the match and how he saw Prajnesh’s performance.
Article by Gautam Belday for Indian Tennis Daily
Match result: Prajnesh Gunneswaran (88, IND) l. Daniil Medvedev (5, RUS) 46 16 26
How do you prepare for someone that you’re not familiar with, in this case Prajnesh? Did you know anything about his game?
Daniil Medvedev: Not really. Actually, it’s funny, but we practiced in Chennai once when I was there and I made final. I don’t know if it was four years ago, three? I think it was three years ago.
And I practiced with him there. I always remember this practice, because this time he was, like, 600. I just got into top 100 and now we are at different level.
I didn’t remember anything about this practice. So my coach watched some matches of him, which we usually do like this. My coach watches me, tells me what he saw, and this way we prepare the match.
This is the first time in 34 years we have two players in the US Open Main Draw from India, obviously an exciting time, both getting able to play top 5 players. What are your thoughts on Prajnesh and what do you think he needs to do to play consistently at this level?
Daniil Medvedev: I don’t know what he has to do to play consistently on this level because I’m not a tennis coach, but I can say first set was really great from him. It was really tough. I’m happy that I managed to win it 6-4.
Absolutely! An Indian singles player of that calibre is to be celebrated and relished. Hope to lots more of him.— Nandita Bose (@nand_bo) August 26, 2019
Then he dropped his level, but that’s kind of normal at the level we are that. Me, I tried to stay consistent throughout the whole match. That’s what he needs to learn to do. And how to do it, this I have no idea.
Did you notice — Prajnesh was saying his ankle rolled over at 2-2 in the first set. Did you notice anything going on at the other end?
Daniil Medvedev: Yeah, I saw something. I ask him if he was okay. He said yes.
I don’t know exactly what happened, but, yeah, he seemed to be painful with his ankle a little bit. I don’t really know what happened. I haven’t seen it happen
View from Louis Armstrong Stadium - Prajnesh vs Medvedev— Indian Tennis Daily (@IndTennisDaily) August 26, 2019
Shared by Devashish Deshpande pic.twitter.com/s9ZWaf1Mhj
Also you said it was a tight first set. Could you talk a little more about how he played and the level of his play.
Daniil Medvedev: Yeah, as I say, first set he was, let’s say, tough to say, because everybody knows how to play tennis, but let’s say top 50 level, for sure. But the thing is that after his level dropped then it was kind of two easy sets for me with a lot of unforced errors for him. That’s where he should be better.
India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran loses his maiden #USOpen match to World No. 5 Daniil Medvedev of Russia 6-4 6-1 6-2. There were a few good things @PrajneshGP did there, especially in the first set, but some sort of problem on his left foot seemed to hamper his movement from thereon— Rutvick Mehta (@RutvickMehta) August 26, 2019