March 24, 2013 by Parveer Mann
Waiting is hard.
It could be in a doctor’s office for an appointment or for those freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to cool. However, we know sometimes waiting for something can be worth it and it is that belief that drives any Lucky Loser before a tennis tournament.
What’s a Lucky Loser?
Before any tournament really gets started, you have those 12 to 24 players on both tours fighting it out for the last spots in the main draw. Depending on the quality of the tournament, these players usually ranked in the low double-digits compete in front of mostly volunteers for that precious chance to move on. For those who ultimately lose out, it generally means catching the next plane out of town but for the highest ranking loser according to ATP/WTA rankings, they get the special designation of Lucky Loser.
After that, it’s the ultimate waiting game hoping for another player to withdraw due to injury or illness before their first match so you can take their spot. It may seem in poor taste to root for someone else’s pain or discomfort but its par for the course in sports. You have to be ready for any chance you get (think Lou Gehrig taking over for Wally Pipp) and the same applies for the Lucky Loser in tennis.
Making the most of it at the Sony Open
Historically, the Lucky Loser has never fared well but there have been those rare instances when they have unbelievably made the finals or even won the whole tournament. You could argue any amount of success when you had little hope to begin with makes the perilous position worth it for any Lucky Loser.
This week, 19 year old American Lauren Davis happily received the memo from the Sony Open tournament director that as the highest ranked Lucky Loser she would take Victoria Azarenka’s spot in the main draw. As a player with little experience on the WTA circuit, it was an absolutely great chance for Davis to play in one of the biggest Premier events all season. She made the most of it, winning her 2nd round matchup against another young American, Madison Keys and then narrowly losing to 32nd ranked Alize Cornet in the round of 32. Add in the $25,000 she earned, it was all worth the wait!
Highlights of the Tennis Weekend:
I’ll admit that I’ve always enjoyed watching James Blake play tennis. Most of his late night matches at the US Open have been highly engaging and worth every hour of lost sleep. So it is nice seeing him advance to the 3rd round in Miami this week. He faces Albert Ramos this round and once again, it will be under the lights.