9-hour road trip with grandma pays off for lucky loser Marco Trungelliti

Argentina's Marco Trungelliti raises his fist in victory after defeating Australia's Bernard Tomic at the French Open. Picture: Alessandra Tarantino/AP
Argentina's Marco Trungelliti raises his fist in victory after defeating Australia's Bernard Tomic at the French Open. Picture: Alessandra Tarantino/AP
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Lucky loser Marco Trungelliti embarked on a nine-hour road trip to make it to Paris in time to face Bernard Tomic – and he somehow knocked the former world No 17 out.

Argentinian Trungelliti, beaten in French Open qualifying last week, was back home in Barcelona on Sunday when, after a spate of withdrawals, he got the call to replace the injured Nick Kyrgios.

Argentina's Marco Trungelliti's grandmother Dafne Botta and his brother Andre accompanied the tennis player Roland Garros. Picture: Alessandra Tarantino/AP

Argentina's Marco Trungelliti's grandmother Dafne Botta and his brother Andre accompanied the tennis player Roland Garros. Picture: Alessandra Tarantino/AP

The 28-year-old had his family – mother Suzanna, brother Andre and 88-year-old grandmother Daphne – staying with him, yet within five minutes Trungelliti had packed them all into his car to embark on a 1,000-kilometre drive in order to be in Paris in time to sign in.

It was worth the trip as well as Trungelliti, ranked 190th in the world, secured a victory which netted him a cool £69,000 – almost treble what he had earned over the rest of the year.

Afterwards, the unlikely darling of Roland Garros explained: “We were at home with my family – actually, my brother and my grandma and my mum came a week ago. Supposedly they were going to come here but then I lost, so I left.

“Then my coach told me to ask if I was going to get in. So I asked and then somebody told me that I was the first alternative.

“So actually, my grandma was in the shower and I told her, OK, we go to Paris!

“There are many flights cancelled, and then there is no train now in France so the best option was just to take the car.”

Trungelliti, who arrived in Paris just before midnight, was on court for an 11am start after just a quick warm-up and still managed to run out a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 winner – not that Daphne was keeping score.

“She has no idea what tennis is, really,” he added. “She has no idea how to count it. And actually, she told me that she didn’t know that it was the end of the match until everybody was clapping.”

Stan Wawrinka, a former French Open champion, made a premature exit from the tournament yesterday, losing a five-set battle with Guillermo Garcia Lopez of Spain in the first round.

Looking a shadow of the player who won the title in Paris three years ago, Wawrinka struggled with his serve and hit 72 unforced errors in his 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 defeat.

Wawrinka, a three-time Grand Slam winner who was runner-up in Roland Garros last year, has been hampered by knee problems that forced him to miss three months of the season.

He had won just one match on clay heading to the French Open and entered the tournament as world No 30, his worse ranking since 2008.

Novak Djokovic is seeded No 20 seed in Paris, his lowest Grand Slam ranking since the 2006 U.S. Open. He opened his campaign on Court Philippe Chatrier with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over qualifier Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil.