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

PUNE: A career-threatening hip injury and the long road to return to action has not dimmed the fire in the belly for Sumit Nagal.
Nagal, who has slipped in 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 go through the grind all over again.
“The goal stays 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 also achieve something, we can also do something,” 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 world rankings, appeared in two ATP Tour finals and won two gold medals at the 2010 Asian Games.
Nagal’s comeback in April after undergoing a hip surgery was stunted by another injury in the summer and his progress was interrupted in the latter part of the season with a second covid infection.
So much so, that the high of taking on the legendary Roger Federer in the US Open in 2019, and winning a main draw match at the same event the following year seems a distant memory.
But the 25-year-old has taken the reversal in fortunes on the chin and still retains the burning desire to get back to the top echelons of the sport.
“I mean, I’ve realised how fast things change, you know, from playing slam to not even getting into a Challenger right now. It changes really fast,” Nagal said.
“But also, the good thing is, when you do well also it changes very fast, in a good way. It’s life, you know, you don’t know how you wake up the next day and how your night ends.”
Having been ranked a career-high 122 in 2020 and the euphoria that followed his exploits, Nagal was left to face the harsh realities of being a journeyman on the professional tour all over again.
“It feels very, how do I put it? It’s tough, because you can’t really schedule (higher level tournaments) anymore. I mean, as of today, I don’t know what I’m going to play next.
“The good part is, India is going to have some Challengers at home (in February 2023). I’m very much looking forward to those. So the first two months (of the new season), if I can go playing six, seven tournaments, I’ll be happy.”
Starved of game time, Nagal is hungry for more. “If I can play 35 weeks I know that I will finish (the year) very high but the biggest question is ‘how do I play those 35 weeks without getting injured?’
“I have invested a lot in fitness, invest a lot in rehab and prehab. Travel with the physio and do a lot of weeks with the physios.”

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