Argentinian Marco Trungelliti isn’t exactly a household name, even for tennis fans, and the man ranked number 190 in the world has been eking out a living on the pro circuit for the best part of 10 years.
That’s only part of what makes his victory in the first round at Roland Garros so sweet, though, because the guaranteed €99 000 (R1,44 million) payday – even if he loses in the second round – comes with a cracking backstory.
Marco wasn’t even supposed to be at the French Open, but after a number of players withdrew he snuck in the back door.
Not that making it to the court in time was plain sailing, as CNN recounts:
He originally lost in the final round of qualifying Thursday to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, which should have been the end of his tale. But as more and more spots opened up in the draw for lucky losers — an eighth berth materialized [sic] courtesy of Nick Kyrgios’ departure Sunday — Trungelliti suddenly had a way in.
In Barcelona, where he resides, Trungelliti set off on the 1,000-kilometer road trip in a car with his brother, mum and 88-year-old grandma, who were all visiting…
“Actually, my grandma was in the shower and I told her, ‘OK, we go to Paris,'” Trungelliti said. “There are many flights canceled, so I didn’t trust (that) too much. And then there is no train now (to) France so the best option was always, just take the car.”
Grandma Daphne celebrated, eventually.
“She has no idea what tennis is, really,” Trungelliti said. “Actually, she told me that she didn’t know that it was the end of the match until everybody was clapping.”
Marco managed to topple Bernard Tomic 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4, having arrived in Paris less than 12 hours earlier.
Say hello to Grandma Daphne, tucked away at the back:
Once news starting spreading about his route to the tournament, the press soon gathered:
“I never had a press conference with so many people. Not even when I played against (Marin) Cilic two years ago,” said Trungelliti, referring to his win against the 2014 US Open champion at Roland Garros.
Well you didn’t drive with Grandma Daphne to the tournament, did you? He will take on Italian Marco Cecchinato, ranked 72 in the world, tomorrow.
Good luck, Marco, especially if you come up against the one and only Rafa Nadal at any point. Clay court GOAT?
His French Open record speaks for itself:
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