What is a Lucky Loser in Tennis?

min read
Jan-Lennard Struff, of Germany, returns the ball against Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, during their men's singles final match at the Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, May 7, 2023.
(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy May 09, 2023, 2:02 PM

In tennis, a lucky loser is a qualifying player who is advanced into the main draw of a tennis tournament despite losing in the qualifying bracket.

For most tournaments on the men’s and women’s professional tennis tour, there is a qualifying bracket that is played before the main draw. Larger tournament draws often have commensurately larger qualifying draws.

Players who win three matches in the qualifying tournament win the right to play in the main draw against the tour’s top competition. Players who lose in the qualifying tournament are sent home.

However, there is sometimes a last-minute dropout from an established tour player playing in the main draw. In these situations, the empty slot is filled with a lucky loser – a player who has already lost in the qualifying draw, but by sheer good fortune, is advanced into the main draw to fill out a hole in the bracket. 

Lucky losers are typically players who advanced to the final round of the qualifying draw before losing. 

Lucky losers are often outmatched against vastly superior competition in their main draw match. However, that’s not always true. In the 2023 Madrid Open, Jan-Lennard Struff was advanced into the main draw as a lucky loser; he took advantage of the opportunity by making a run all the way to the championship round before losing to Carlos Alcaraz. 

He won more than $500,000 in prize money after the run. Without his lucky loser status, he would have instead won about $10,000 as a second-round qualifying loser. 

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.