Newspaper article International New York Times

They Play Their Hearts out for That 'Lucky Loser' Spot

Newspaper article International New York Times

They Play Their Hearts out for That 'Lucky Loser' Spot

Article excerpt

For many players on the tennis circuit, a shot at the big time often means the luck of the draw.

Luck in tennis is most commonly associated with balls that hit the net cord and dribble over, or shots that hit the racket frame and land squarely on the line. But there is no luck in tennis quite as important as the luck of the draw.

Four spots were open in the Wimbledon men's singles draw to replace players who withdrew after the qualifying tournament began last week. At the Bank of England Club in Roehampton on Thursday, the six highest seeds who lost in the final round of qualifying were numbered one through six and were pulled in a modest draw ceremony to determine the order in which they would enter the draw as so- called lucky losers.

The first number called was three, Frank Dancevic of Canada. He had decided to attend the proceedings, and looked skyward, shouting, "Come on, man! Come on!" when his name was called.

As he prepared for his first-round main draw match Tuesday against Ivo Karlovic, Dancevic reflected on winning this lottery.

"You get a second breath," said Dancevic, who has been a lucky loser twice before at a Grand Slam tournament.

Aside from the opportunity to remain in contention, the lottery win also means significant cash: A loser in the final round of qualifying receives 13,500 pounds ($22,987), while a first-round appearance in the main draw pays 27,000 pounds ($45,974) and provides the opportunity to earn more by advancing further.

The next number picked was No. 6, Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia. Malek Jaziri of Tunisia, the No. 2 seed, heard his number next. The only other player to attend the draw, Jaziri screamed and embraced Dancevic. They then took their celebrations outside to the grass for more hugging and woo-hooing.

The fourth and final lucky loser selected was Simone Bolelli of Italy, seeded fourth in the pot. No. 5 Daniel Brands was then picked fifth, to be the first alternate if another player were to withdraw.

The unluckiest loser was the No. 1 seed in the draw, Tim Smyczek, an American who was the highest-ranked at 106th.

At ATP and WTA events, the highest-ranked player to lose in the final round of qualifying is given the first lucky loser spot automatically, the second-highest ranked player the second lucky loser spot, and so on. …

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