Sumit Nagal rises to 71 in ATP rankings, in sight of securing berth for Paris Olympics

Sumit Nagal
Sumit Nagal (PC: Sumit Nagal/X)

Sumit Nagal will scale a new peak on the ATP computer today as he will touch a career high ranking of 71 in singles. On Sunday evening, the boy from Jhajjar, Haryana, who turned tennis into a marathon of sorts, lost in the Perugia Challenger in Italy to Luciano Darderi 1-6, 2-6.

For all those who have followed the exploits of Nagal since last year, his rediscovery and current run in 2024 has a lot to do with improvement in his game, to be bold and plan smart. “What a final. Left it out there on the court in the last couple of weeks. Super proud of the results. Time to rest and recover for Wimbledon,” Nagal posted on his handle on X (Twitter).

The last four weeks have been extremely intense for Nagal, with a direct entry into the French Open main draw where he lost in the first round. It required presence of mind, getting into quick planning mode and then jumping to the Challenger levels to show his hunger for singles success is high. He has, indeed, taken social media by storm, for sheer volume of matches played in 2024. What it tells tennis fans is how Nagal has gone about the rebuilding process in his physique, game and tennis strategy with professional advice.

This writer has been in touch with Nagal through the highs and lows, starting from the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, last year, Nagal has peaked, so to say. He may have made a mistake in not making himself available for the Davis Cup away tie in Pakistan earlier this year. His fear, then, was that grass would not suit him. No, Nagal cannot say that now as he will be preparing for Wimbledon, beginning July 1.

The big question mark is if he is in the singles draw or not for the Paris 2024 Olympics. As per the cut-off, applied last Monday after the end of the French Open, Sumit may have ‘seemed out’ as the draw for Paris 2024 to be played at Roland Garros is 64. But then, when the final list is drawn up in the first week of July by the ITF (International Tennis Federation), Nagal should find a place in Paris. There will be some countries with many players ranked high but there is a cap on entries they can send for the Olympics. Going by that logic, he should be there in Paris.

“By sheer weight of performance, Sumit has made everyone in tennis take note. His work ethic, bringing the right support staff on board has been crucial,” said Rohan Bopanna, who has watched Nagal peak in 2024. “I saw him train and play in the American outdoor, he is looking good,” added Bopanna.

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Sumit Nagal
Sumit Nagal (PC: X)

From the hard courts of Melbourne, where Nagal qualified and won a draw in the main round of the Australian Open in January to then stepping foot on home soil for a series of Challenger tennis events, he has not hesitated one bit. For sheer flying miles registered in travelling from Australia to India, then the United States of America and returning back to Europe, Nagal has not exhibited any sign of fatigue.

On Sunday, he lost the final to a superior opponent on clay, Darderi. Indeed, having won a Challenger a week before in Germany, Nagal had peaked. His main draw spot in Wimbledon was secured long back, now it is about how fast he can recover.

In September/October, Nagal was morose in the absence of sponsors just before the Asian Games in China. A big company like Gatorade came on board and some individuals, personally also helped him, as Nagal was “broke.” The money he has got has been invested in his own tennis and putting in place a system for his training, recovery and travel.

V.Chamundeswaranath, who played first class cricket for Andhra Pradesh many years ago and is now a businessman, had also seen Nagal struggle through a post on social media. He had given Rs 10 lakhs to Nagal last year.

It may seem odd, such a talented player had to face hardships, but in terms of results achieved in tennis in 2024, Sumit Nagal has raced ahead by miles. If people are taking his name in the same breath as Vijay Amritraj, Ramesh Krishnan and Leander Paes, Nagal has arrived, truly. Nagal’s efforts have been one of putting heart and soul, plus ensuring he will not fear competing in any level of tennis, Grand Slams, ATP Tour and Challengers.

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