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The greatest inadvertent record in tennis?

Peter Polansky of Canada returns a shot during the Rogers Cup men's tennis tournament in Toronto, Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)
Expert
25th August, 2018
8

Not many people would have heard of Peter Polansky.

Even tennis fans are unlikely to know a great deal about the Canadian.

Arguably, the most noteworthy incident in his career came at the age of 17, when he began sleepwalking, kicked through some glass and fell out of the third-storey window of his hotel room in Mexico City back in 2006.

That was the case, until now.

Of the countless records that have been broken in the wonderful world of tennis, perhaps the most recent one to fall is the most glorious and bizarre.

History has been made. No it is not from 20-time grand slam winner Roger Federer, 23-time major winner Serena Williams or, more recently, Novak Djokovic – who just accomplished the career ‘golden masters’ sweep.

All of these players have strived to be the best and have achieved it with magnificent regularity.

The 30-year-old, however, may have claimed the greatest inadvertent record in the sport’s history.

He has achieved something none of the above greats can claim, nor anyone else for that matter, as he became the first player to advance to all four Grand Slams in a calendar year as a lucky loser.

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Lucky losers are players who have lost in the final round of qualifying but when one of the players from the draw withdraws, typically through injury, these plucky troopers get another bite at the cherry.

Polansky, ranked at 120 in the world, has made a habit of losing a match but ending it not long after with a smile.

After downing Sergio Gutierrez Ferrol and Santiago Giraldo in the first two rounds of qualifying at the US Open, Polansky lost a tight three-setter against lop-sided bicep man, Donald Young, at the final hurdle.

But there was another page to be written on this bizarre chapter for Polansky.

Two hours after he lost on Friday he got lucky once again as his name was randomly drawn from a list of 16 players.

After this took place for the fourth straight major, Polansky really must’ve thought he was dreaming.

I can think of no other player who deserves this honour, especially as his career almost was ended before it had really begun.

The then teenager required over 400 stitches but was back playing the sport he loved a couple of months later.

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But after being given another reprieve for this year’s US Open, Polansky would have been in, pardon the pun, stitches.

At this year’s Australian Open, Polansky lost in the final qualifying round to Yuki Bhambri, before getting a shot to play Karen Khachanov, where he lost in three sets.

In the French capital, he was defeated by Jozef Kovalik in the last qualifying round but was let off again as he got a shot at winning his first ever match at the French Open.

That, ultimately, did not happen as Pierre-Hugues Herbert beat him in four sets.

Dennis Novak ended his Wimbledon hopes in the first round, after Polansky lost in four sets to Aussie Jason Kubler in the final qualifying round.

And now, as the legendary commentator Bill McLaren used to say about the great rugby player Gavin Hastings, ‘He’s done it again!’

Polansky has won one match at grand slam level. That came back in 2010 at, funnily enough, the US Open. He beat Kristof Vliegen in straight sets.

However, he really has his work cut out as he is up against world number four Alexander Zverev in Round 1.

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It is more than likely that Polansky will fall at the first hurdle in a slam yet again, but he is relishing the opportunity.

On Friday night after learning of the news, Polansky tweeted a picture of Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight, saying: “LL-Slam complete. Peace Out.”

He really is the luckiest loser of them all.