Sumit Nagal hits career-high ATP ranking of 80

Sumit Nagal
Sumit Nagal (PC: X)

Sumit Nagal continues to make waves on the global tennis circuit. On Monday, the maverick from Jhajjar, Haryana scaled a peak when he achieved a singles ranking of 80 on the ATP computer. Before you ask what’s the big deal, it is.

Indian tennis has struggled to produce singles players for years now. That Nagal, who was almost facing an existential crisis due to lack of funds, has bounced back in such fashion is a fairytale.

Nagal was modest when he spoke to RevSportz briefly on Monday. “It’s just a small milestone of where I want to be,” he said, referencing the enormous self-belief he has shown in 2024. “I need to keep pushing and keep on improving if I want to break into the top 50 this year. ”

He has been playing almost non-stop tennis from January. From the grind of qualifiers at the Australian Open in Melbourne and then making the main draw and winning a round, Nagal ensured he was on the right track. But the big moments came in February 2024 when he rocked in a series of Challenger tennis events held in Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune and Delhi. At that time, when he broke into the Top 100, he was excited. “It’s a dream come true,” he had told RevSportz in February.

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Sumit Nagal
Sumit Nagal (Source: SAI Media)

From within 100 to 80, the current ranking, is impressive. When he made the main draw at the Monte Carlo Masters event on clay last week, it was seen as titanic. The last person to do that was Ramesh Krishnan over 30 years ago. Nagal took a set off Holger Rune, proof of his prowess, in the main draw. But then, after non-stop travel and tennis, he needs a break. He will not be playing for the next two weeks. “I will be training for the next two or three weeks and then play again,” Nagal told RevSportz.

For someone who has faced fitness issues in the past, Nagal has made the right decision. He can breathe freely as he will be in the French Open main draw. As things stand, he will, hopefully, be part of the main draw for the Paris Olympics as well.

Nagal loves clay and would fancy his chances at the French Open, where another man with a similar surname, Nadal, also hopes to play! Nagal is confident and relaxed these days. He has hired the services of sports psychologist Cynthia Hucks-Smith, who has been a calming influence.

“I have seen Sumit Nagal closely from January,” Rohan Bopanna told RevSportz. “Definitely, he believes in himself more. I saw him at the Australian Open and again last week in Monte Carlo. There is a change and for the better. I have no doubt, Nagal will do well and he just needs to enjoy his tennis.

Sumit Nagal
Sumit Nagal (Image: X)

“I think Sumit has made the right investment in himself. Yes, he was struggling without sponsors before. Now that he is getting support, he has the right support system with him. Yes, I did see Cynthia working with him in the US. This was much needed and it will help Sumit do even better. I feel happy for him. ”

Enough has been written about the travails of Nagal, when he had to scrape the bank account for the last dollar when based abroad. His sponsors have come and, even recently, in Hyderabad, he was promised Rs 10 lakhs at a function attended by Sania Mirza and V Chamundeswarnath.

From the times of Jasjit Singh in 1974, India had tennis players in Top 100. Then came Sashi Menon, Vijay and Anand Amritraj, Ramesh Krishnan, Leander Paes, Somdev Devvarman, Yuki Bhmabri and Prajnesh Gunneswaran.

For Nagal to talk of top 50 is big. All those who were mourning “no singles players” in sight in Indian tennis can smile today. This is just the beginning. Nagal in Paris at the Olympics will be fascinating.

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