'Lucky loser’ Robert extends runComment on this story
Melbourne - Stephane Robert said Saturday he didn't dare look at the prize money he stands to win after extending his Australian Open fairytale by becoming the first ever 'lucky loser' to reach the last 16.
The 33-year-old French journeyman, with a world ranking of 119, failed to come through qualifying but was handed a spot at the tournament when Philipp Kohlschreiber pulled out injured.
Robert was given just 10 minutes' notice before taking the court in the first round - but three matches and three wins later, he's into the second week.
On Saturday, he beat fellow lucky loser Martin Klizan 6-0, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4.
It was the first Grand Slam third round match between two lucky losers since Wimbledon in 1973.
“I'm very happy. You know, it's not a dream because I lost in the qualies (qualifiers), but now after I got this opportunity, now I'm really in the tournament,” said Robert.
“Except the first match, you know, I was a bit in trouble before the match because I didn't know that I was supposed to play.
“Then the second round and third round I could prepare very well, and I was very solid these two matches. So I'm very happy with this kind of performance.”
Robert said he had just opened a US dollars bank account and was filling out a form for the ATP when he got the call to play in the first round, and went to see the tournament referee.
“He told me, 'Okay, you're ready to play? Court 7. Go.' I saw my opponent, I said, 'Okay, see you on court. And we went and played,” laughed Robert.
After wins against Aljaz Bedene, Michal Przysiezny and now Klizan, Robert will receive US$118,000 for reaching the last 16, rising to US$236,000 if he makes it to the quarter-finals - more than a quarter of his total career earnings to date.
However, he said he couldn't bring himself to look at the prize money or the rankings points he could win, fearing he will jinx himself for his fourth-round clash with Andy Murray.
“I'm not checking the prize money. I'm not checking the rankings or points, because when I do this, then I lose,” he said. - Sapa-AFP