James Duckworth has secured a spot in the French Open main draw.
James Duckworth has secured a spot in the French Open main draw. Al Bello

Lucky Ducky: Aussie wins French Open break

AFTER two long years and a depressing string of injuries, fate has finally favoured James Duckworth.

Repeatedly sidelined with elbow and foot issues since the 2016 Australian Open, the Sydneysider refused to surrender as his ranking - and career prospects - nosedived.

On the cusp of French Open qualifying deadline, Duckworth finally caught a break.

Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic abandoned his Roland Garros campaign, withdrawing from the second grand slam of the season, gifting Duckworth a promotion.


Using a protected ranking of No.105, Duckworth was the first player on the alternate list and was elevated into the main draw.

Formerly ranked No.82 in the world, Duckworth returns to the French Open field proper for the first time since 2015.

Joining Nick Kyrgios, John Millman, Jordan Thompson, Matt Ebden and Alex De Minaur, Duckworth has not appeared on the regular tour since losing in the second round of Australian Open qualifying.

The right-hander, who is actually ranked No.1067, had foot surgery in January last year.

The previous year, he tore a flexor tendon in his right elbow after the Australian Open. Then broke his left wrist doing sprints.

The hard-working baseliner's return coincides with the start of qualifying in Paris, where Bernard Tomic and Thanasi Kokkinakis are part of a seven-player Australian contingent.


Tomic is back inside the top 200 after reaching a Challenger final, while Kokkinakis returns for the first time since injuring his left knee in an accident the Monte Carlo Masters.

Akira Santillan, Marc Polmans, Alex Bolt, John-Patrick Smith and Jason Kubler are also entered in qualifying.

Women's qualifying starts on Tuesday.

Australia has five women in the main draw - Ash Barty, Sam Stosur, Daria Gavrilova, Ajla Tomljanovic and wildcard playoff winner Isabelle Wallace.