Want to reach where I can change tennis in India: Sumit Nagal | Tennis News

PUNE: A career-threatening hip injury and the long road back to action haven’t dampened the fire in the gut for Sumit Nagal.
Nagal, who has slipped down the rankings to 501 now, still retains the desire to be the best singles player the country has produced in recent times and is ready to do it again.
“The goal remains the same, you know, I want to do something that our last best player did. I want to be at a point where I can change tennis in our country, you know, where we don’t play tennis just for fun but to say “listen, we can achieve something too, we can do something too,” Nagal said after a practice session ahead of the Tata Open Maharashtra men’s tennis event here on Thursday.
Nagal, likely to get a wildcard for the ATP 250 event, was referring to his mentor Somdev Devvarman, who reached a career-high 62 in the world rankings, appeared in two ATP Tour finals and won two gold medals at the 2010 Asian Games.
Nagal’s return in April after undergoing hip surgery was delayed by another injury in the summer and his progress was halted in the latter part of the season with a second covid infection.
So much so that facing the legendary Roger Federer at the US Open in 2019 and winning a main draw match at the same event the following year seems like a distant memory.
But the 25-year-old took the reversal of fortune on the chin and still retains a burning desire to return to the top echelons of the sport.
“I mean, I realized how quickly things change, you know, from playing slam to not even getting into a Challenger right now. It changes very quickly,” Nagal said.
“But also, what’s nice is that when you do well, it changes very quickly, in a good way. That’s life, you know, you don’t know how you wake up the next day and how your night is ending.”
After being ranked 122, a career-high in 2020 and the euphoria that followed his achievements, Nagal had to face the harsh reality of being a journeyman on the professional circuit again.
“It’s very, how to say? It’s difficult, because you can’t really schedule (higher level tournaments) anymore. I mean, from today, I don’t know what I’m going to play then.
“The good part is that India is going to have Challengers at home (in February 2023). I am looking forward to them. So the first two months (of the new season), if I can play six, seven tournaments, I will be happy.”
Deprived of playing time, Nagal wants more. “If I can play 35 weeks I know I will finish (the year) very high but the bigger question is ‘how can I play those 35 weeks without injury?’
“I invested a lot in physical fitness, I invested a lot in rehab and pre-rehab. Travel with the physio and spend a lot of weeks with the physios.”


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