Sumit Nagal : The Journey from 503 to 80

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At the start of the 2023 season, Sumit Nagal was ranked 503 in the world and faced the prospect of grinding it out on the Challengers circuit.

A year on, Sumit has made a dramatic turnaround having reached his career-high ranking of 80 on the back of some good wins this year at the highest tiers of tennis including the Australian Open and Masters 1000 tournaments.

Sumit Nagal

Sumit had a decent year in 2023 winning the Rome and Tampere Challengers apart from reaching the finals of the Tulin and Helsinki Challengers considering his immense financial challenges.

He had admitted to having only 80000 rupees in his bank account and struggling to meet his expenses in the tour despite being the number one player in India.

He has had a great year so far in 2024 becoming the first Indian to defeat a seeded player in the singles main draw of a Grand Slam since 1989 by beating the 31st seed Alexander Bublik in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 & 7-6 (5).

He lost in the 2nd round to the Chinese wild card, Shang Juncheng 6-2, 3-6, 5-7 & 4-6. Earlier, he had defeated Geoffrey Blancaneaux, local Edward Winter, and Alex Molcan in straight sets to qualify for the main draw.

Sumit had a good outing in the Indian Challenger season winning the Chennai Open Challenger while making the semi-finals at Bangalore Open Challenger. After winning the Chennai Open Challenger defeating the top seed Luca Nardi 6-1, 6-4, he became the 10th Indian to reach the top 100 in singles. Interestingly, Luca Nardi went on to defeat World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the 3rd round of the Indian Wells Masters.
Sumit qualified for the Indian Wells Masters main draw as a lucky loser and thereby became the first Indian since Prajnesh Gunneswaran in 2019 to play in the main draw of an ATP 1000 event. He lost in the first round to former World No.3, Milos Raonic 3-6, 3-6 in the first round at Indian Wells.

He also lost out in the final qualifying round at the Miami Masters 1000 to Coleman Wong in a close encounter 6-3, 1-6 & 5-7.

He had a good run at the last tournament that he played, the Monte-Carlo Masters 1000, where he qualified into the main draw beating higher-ranked opponents Flavio Cobolli (World Rank 57) and Facunda Diaz Acosta (World Rank 47). In the first round, he defeated Matteo Arnaldi (World Rank 38) before losing out to the world no. 7 Holger Rune in a close second-round encounter.

In 2024, Sumit has played in 3 Masters 1000 events which is more than he has ever done in his entire career previously. He had only played the qualifiers twice before in Shanghai in 2023 and Monte-Carlo in 2021.

With these good performances at the higher tiers of tennis, Sumit has qualified for both the French Open and the Wimbledon. He will look to make the most of these tournaments to improve his ranking further.
Currently, Sumit is training at his home base at the Nensel Tennis Academy near Hanover in Germany.

We will next see him in action at the Bordeaux Challenger 175 event starting May 13. After that, he is set to compete at the ATP 250 event in Lyon preceding the French Open. He will hope to make the most of his favourite Clay courts to continue the rise in his tennis career.

Written By Nithish

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