The 23-year-old is determined to do his best in the upcoming tournaments.
Indian tennis star Sumit Nagal is gearing up for the US Open which will be his first Grand Slam participation ever since the COVID-19 pandemic. He will begin his campaign against 129th ranked Bradley Klahn who will be at home.
However, after all this time, Sumit Nagal should be used to the hustle of New York. It is a place where he made his name in his initial days. He qualified for the US Open junior draw for the first time back in 2014 and the love story has continued ever since, as he made his senior men’s debut at the same venue last year against the legendary Roger Federer.
This year US Open is very different for the players as they are staying in the bio bubble due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Sumit Nagal is staying in a hotel at Long Island like most other players. “It’s kind of boring now actually,” he told Indian Express.
“It’s a different feeling. We’re not staying in the city anymore, which is a bit awkward. You cannot leave the bubble so there’s not much to do. Go to the courts, practice and come back to the hotel. That’s it. But at the end of the day, when you get home it’s already evening and you’re tired. So it’s not the worst thing in the world.”
Sumit Nagal has a chance to progress as he is five places above his opponent in terms of rankings. Last year there was hardly any hope against the 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer but now he has the opportunity of becoming the first Indian singles player to win a main draw match since 2013.
He stated, “It’ll be a good match, and I like playing lefties. I do feel that I have a good chance to do well. I’m going to fight for every point because this is the biggest chance I’m getting to win at a Slam.”
The Indian tennis star prepared himself thoroughly and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he has left no stone unturned in his buildup to the US Open. When the tour was suspended he decided to stay at Piene, Germany where he trained at the Sascha Nensel Academy and played some exhibition event in Germany and Switzerland to be match ready. He then travelled to Prague for the Challenger and then came straight to the United States.
Sumit Nagal said, “The plan was to play the Challenger before the US Open. It felt good. I feel I played some good tennis, so I don’t think I’ll be worried about it. The courts are a bit faster here than last year. So it’ll be interesting to see how everyone is going to adapt. But I’m ready.”
The Jhajjar native is returning to the venue where he announced himself at the big stage. Playing against Federer was an experience in itself but the 23-year old caught the eyes when he managed to win the first set. Although the five-time US open champions came back strongly to win the match, he did impress the Swiss legend that day.
It has been a bumpy start to his career with all the injuries but India’s hopes will be pinned on him. “I think there will always be some nervousness when playing big events like the Slam or Masters,” he offers, “but that’s normal,” he concluded.