Frank Dancevic turned 35 on Thursday.
On Friday, the Canadian Davis Cup captain got a spot in the qualifying at the Beijing Open, an ATP Tour 500 event.
Dancevic hasn’t had a singles ranking since July, when his last ATP Tour points fell off the computer.
His last singles match was a first-round loss in qualifying at the 2018 Rogers Cup. And his last doubles match came at the Tallahassee Challenger in April 2019.
But with withdrawals aplenty at this big tournament, there was an empty spot.
Dancevic, who is in Beijing as the coach of countryman Vasek Pospisil, was there to fill it.
And even if he loses, he’ll still pick up a tidy $5,140 US for being in the right Chinese city, at the right time.
(Update: after a really slow start, losing the first 10 points, Dancevic was pretty competitive against Chardy. He lost 6-1, 6-4 but did push it over the hour mark).
There were so many pullouts that Pospisil, who wasn’t even in the original qualifying list with his injury protected ranking of No. 73, ended up getting in with his “true” ranking of No. 225. That had originally put him 30th on the alternates list at the entry deadline.
Winning record against Chardy
Dancevic will play 32-year-old Jérémy Chardy of France, ranked No. 53 and seeded No. 6.
If it’s encouraging for the rusty Canadian at all, he holds a 1-0 head-to-head record against Chardy. They played in the first round of the Miami Open in 2012, and Dancevic won 7-5, 7-6.
This was, however, many moons ago.
Pospisil also is in the qualifying. He gets No. 7 seed Andreas Seppi, who just lost in the quarterfinals in Zhuhai on Friday.
Luckily, the two Canadians wouldn’t face each other on the way to the main draw. That would have been the craziest draw luck ever. But par for the court in the wacky world of Frank the Tank.
Doubles comeback fizzled
Dancevic, whose career high ranking of No. 65 came in 2007, had been planning to come back as a doubles specialist back in the spring, with Romanian Florin Mergea.
They did play the Drummondville Challenger together back in March. But for various reasons, that didn’t happen. Mergea, a former doubles No. 7, has teamed up with Andre Begemann this summer and the two are ripping up the Challenger circuit. In nine tournaments since July, they have three titles and three semifinals.
Meanwhile, Dancevic is gearing up for November’s Davis Cup finals by helping Pospisil, who had back surgery in January, find his way back to top form on the ATP Tour.
And playing a little tennis on the side, even though he told a local newspaper during the Granby Challenger (where he first began working with Pospisil) that he was hanging up the racket.
In Dancevic’s eventful life, “never” doesn’t always mean “never”.
Except in “never a dull moment.”