INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Until earlier this week in Indian Wells, former No. 10 Lucas Pouille hadn’t set foot on the match court since he lost to John Isner in the second round of Shanghai last October.
An elbow injury that, like most injuries, had already been a factor for awhile finally took him off the courts.
Just before Christmas, he announced that he wouldn’t be in good enough shape to play the ATP Cup or the Australian Open.
He has also missed Dubai, which is played in his back yard.
But he finally made it back for the Indian Wells Challenger this week, although it wasn’t a great return.
After a first-round bye, Pouille was beaten by American Noah Rubin, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
Now comes the big test, at a tournament in which he has never had much success.
One win in four attempts
Pouille has played Indian Wells four times. And he has won just one match, against Jan-Lennard Struff in 2018.
The 26-year-old Frenchman was just inside the top 20, at No. 19, when he went off the tour.
As he returns, he’s down to No. 58 and he’ll be unseeded this year. On the plus side, with the 96-player draw, the top 32 players have a first-round bye. So at least he knows he won’t have to face any of them.
Pouille hasn’t even had much of a chance to show off his new Le Coq Sportif duds. Long with adidas, his new deal with the iconic French company was announced at the end of January.
The early exit in the Challenger meant that Pouille could focus on practice this week. And he was out with coach Amélie Mauresmo Friday afternoon.
Here’s a look.