I could barely sleep, couldn’t wait to face Roger Federer: Sumit Nagal to India Today

first_imgSumit Nagal woke up to countless congratulatory messages, the day after playing the biggest match of his life. His identity to the outside world before playing Roger Federer in the 1st round of the US Open at the Arthur Ashe stadium was “some dude from India” in his own words. After Federer predicted Nagal would have ‘a solid career ahead’, he knows tennis connoisseurs around the world would be keeping an eye out for him.”I could have done better. I could have taken him deeper in the match. But it was an experience, first time to play someone who has done so much for tennis and is an idol for so many,” Sumit Nagal tells India Today over phone from New York, reflecting on his Grand Slam debut at the US Open.”I could not have asked for a bigger debut match. I enjoyed every moment that I was there. I enjoyed every point,” Nagal, who is supported by the Virat Kohli Foundation, said. This confidence, poise and belief were instrumental in helping the Indian take a set off his famed opponent.Being a 22-year-old qualifier from Jhajjar, ranked 190 in the world making his Grand Slam debut against a 20-time Grand Slam winner may have been a true fact but Nagal made sure his mind wasn’t clouded with these thoughts. Instead he was brimming with energy with the prospect of facing Federer.We know this isn’t the last we’ll see of Sumit Nagal…Remember the name #USOpen pic.twitter.com/JtW1xzA4k6advertisementUS Open Tennis (@usopen) August 27, 2019″Knowing I would be facing Federer and it would be my debut and on the biggest court in tennis, how can you not be ready for this? There was so much of excitement and adrenaline running in your blood and you are crazy hyped for the night. I was barely sleeping because I was so looking forward that I couldn’t wait. Because I had known on Friday that I would be facing Federer and after that it was the longest two days I have felt in life,” he says.As it turned out, Nagal’s heavy forehands won him the first set against the champion before Federer came into his own. But it’s his fight in the fourth set that gives him belief. “I do believe I belong. I have a great feeling about next year. I know my game needs to improve in lots of areas but I will be ready and excited for the next season,” he speaks with confidence.Nagal does not have to guard against his show-court performance getting to his head. With a tournament in Italy followed by Bosnia on clay lined up, the Challengers grind will be enough to keep him real.Roger [email protected] | #USOpen pic.twitter.com/3sofNcPVdDUS Open Tennis (@usopen) August 27, 2019″You have to play so many matches, the reward is less, the prize money is less, the points are less. But you are still playing people who are 100, sometimes top 50 for seven points and 300 Euroes. That’s a grind. Playing the same guy in another tournament, you would play for 20 points and 10000 dollars,” he explains.Nagal knows 35 points earned from a first-round Grand Slam loss won’t shoot up his rankings. A reason he has not set himself any ranking targets. Instead, the Indian tennis hope wants to ensure he plays well enough to break into the Australian Open main draw next year.We change the G’ and add a D’ – did you think for a second it was Nadal?…[email protected] | #USOpen pic.twitter.com/jZuJjub5FhUS Open Tennis (@usopen) August 27, 2019On Tuesday, it was the Rafael Nadal fan playing Roger Federer at the US Open. If he can build on this confidence, a showdown with Nadal soon? “I wouldn’t mind,” he replies with a ‘bring it on’ attitude.Also Read | Learnt a lot from Roger Federer, couldn’t have asked for a better match up: Sumit NagalAlso Read | Roger Federer lauds Sumit Nagal after US Open match: Never easy to come out and play your bestAlso Read | Who is Sumit Nagal, the man who gave Roger Federer a scare at US Open Also Read | US Open: Sumit Nagal 1st Indian to take a set off Roger Federerlast_img

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