US OPEN 2011
Dancevic Is Qualifying's Grand Slam Man
New York, U.S.A.
by Robert Davis|
For a professional tennis player, qualifying for the main draw at any level of tournament, whether it be Futures or ATP World Tour events, is a great feeling. In tennis it happens every week in every tournament all around the world. To qualify is something to be proud of, but it is fairly common on the tennis tour.
However, what Frank Dancevic has done, qualify for all four Grand Slams in one calendar year, is so special that it has never been done before. When the Canadian defeated Romain Jouan in the final round of the US Open qualifying tournament last week, he made tennis history.
“I had no idea that I was the first one,” admits Dancevic when asked how it felt to make the tennis history books. “I have had a lot of injuries throughout my career, and I started off the year just trying to work my way up the rankings and get my identity back this year. Starting from scratch, playing the qualifying rounds at all the Slams and having to win all those matches was tough, but worth it. I believe that I am a Top 100 player and deserve to be back there. I had confidence going into every qualifying match at each of the Grand Slams. Honestly, I felt that I deserved to be in the main draw and that sort of helped me through my matches.”
A look back at Dancevic’s playing activity supports his claim. Though his current ranking is outside the Top 100, he was once ranked as high as 65. He has made the finals of two ATP World Tour events (Eastbourne ’09 and Indianapolis ’07).
“The toughest qualifying of all was here at the US Open,” says Dancevic. “My last tournament coming in was Wimbledon. So I have not had any matches and slight injuries again. Playing my first match here I won in straight sets, but was really sore the next day. Then I got through two more tough three-set matches. Actually, I am happy that I got to play a couple of three-set matches as it prepared me for well for main draw.”
Dancevic will play Marsel Ilhan on Court 6 today, hoping to finally take advantage of his hard work in qualifying. At the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, he lost in the first round of the main draw.
“In my case there were benefits to playing qualifying,” says Dancevic. “Coming here and getting a few matches under my belt definitely will help me for this tournament. I feel great going into main draw, my body is ready and I have confidence.”
When asked how it felt to be the first player in history to qualify for all four Grand Slams in the same year, Dancevic replied with a big grin, “You know, it is kind of cool.”
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