When Marco Trungeliti goes to court, he lives on the edge. The 31-year-old Argentine can never be written off, even when he’s in the deepest holes, least of all in a Grand Slam; just when it looks like his chances of winning a match in a Grand Slam qualifier are slipping, ‘Trunge’ digs deep and trusts his instincts.
That special ‘adrenaline’ got him through his last qualifier at the Australian Open in Melbourne against Damir Dzumhur. The Bosnian led 3-1 and had three break points in the final set; he served for the game at 5-4 and was only two points away from victory when Trungeliti won a point with a diving volley at the net. It wasn’t the first time he did, and it won’t be the last.
In the end, Trungeliti took a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 win to establish himself as a Grand Slam qualifier. In what was his 30th qualifying tournament for an event in the category, he reached his goal for the ninth time (he has qualified as a lucky loser only once; Roland Garros in 2018).
“I am always recovering from injuries. I don’t have many chances anymore, that’s why I always give 100 percent in these tournaments,” said the Argentine, who still suffers from a stress fracture in one of his feet. “I’m doing my best because that’s all I know… I push myself physically, but these tournaments motivate me. Maybe I don’t play the best tennis, but I feel like I deserve to be here at this level,” he told ATPTour.com.
Trungeliti is not going to rest on his laurels, despite his strong track record in the qualifying rounds; three times in Melbourne (of 9 attempts), two at the US Open (of 6), three at Roland Garros (of 9) and one at Wimbledon (7). In fact, it is the third consecutive Grand Slam where the current number 198 in the ATP ranking has made it through qualifying and he now has a record of 39 wins from 61 Grand Slam qualifying matches, having made fourteen final rounds. reached (Q3).
He has more than earned his nickname ‘Qualy-Man’, which they call him on social media: “I think it’s funny. I am glad to have read it and that the expectations on my shoulders have not affected me, which is not easy … it shows maturity and I am happy.”
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Is there a particular qualifying tournament that he remembers more fondly than the rest? “There’s one I didn’t get through, but it stuck with me. It was at Roland Garros in 2015. I lost in the third round, I was 7-5, 5-2 up and serving. But I folded and that hurt. It helped me to approach them with a different mindset after that,” he says before underlining his philosophy by saying: “Grand Slam qualifiers aren’t about how well you play, they’re about how well you fight.”
With the peace of mind of the Melbourne main draw, Trungeliti is more relaxed as he trains “to relax my body and relieve tension”, before taking at least a few hours to study his first opponent, American Frances Tiafoe. . “I always study my opponent, there are many things that you can see in videos and discover in advance. I try to take advantage of that.”
However, the Santiago del Estero-born player, who made Andorra his home until a few years ago, admits he recently nearly hung his racket. “I thought a lot about quitting, but I kept going because of my energy, momentum and because I didn’t know how to start from scratch,” he admits with a laugh. “Now I enjoy it more, I choose the tournaments I go to, or I continue to play in Italy and drink coffee.”
His passion for coffee is so great that Trungeliti tends to travel the world with his coffee machine. “I didn’t bring it here, but I always take it with me. I like it since I was young, it’s like a ritual for me. I like espresso without sugar, as it should be,” he explains and concludes: “My favorite is the one from Italy and ours.”
When he says ‘our’, it’s because Trungeliti and his wife Nadir opened his own cafe in Andorra called ‘0% Gluten’, serving specialty coffees and gluten-free food. “It is hard work, but also wonderful when the products are fresh and you are working on the details of the machine, the temperature of the water. The more coffee you drink, the more you can see if it tastes good.”
After qualifying in Melbourne, Trungeliti is gaining momentum and has no intention of stopping. “Now I feel younger than 10 years ago, that’s why I’m still exploring the mysteries of tennis and of life,” he concludes with a mischievous smile, saying he probably won’t change anytime soon.