Fast rising Indian tennis star Sumit Nagal has attained career-best ranking of 129, moved up six places in the latest men’s singles rankings. Nagal, had reached the semifinals of the ATP Challenger Campinas on Sunday, losing to Argentina’s 325-ranked Juan Ficovich in straight sets in Brazil.
He did not look in his elements right from the start as he lost the match 4-6, 1-6 which eventually turned out to be a one-sided contest. Before that, the 22-year-old had achieved his career-best ranking of 135 after clinching the men’s singles title at the Buenos Aires ATP Challenger clay event. Nagal had made a jump of 26 places after he clinched his second Challenger title in Argentina.
The Haryana player had grabbed headlines after he made his Grand Slam debut in August and produced a spirited fight against Swiss maestro Roger Federer in the first-round of the US Open.
Nagal had earlier featured in the list of the government’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) but was later dropped. The scheme offers a monthly financial aid of Rs 50,000 to athletes who are medal prospects at the Olympics. Nagal’s annual budget amounts to the tune of 220,000 euros (Rs 1.5 crore).
Multiple Grand Slam title winner Mahesh Bhupathi, who mentored Nagal after hand-picking him from a tennis clinic, said if a player of the calibre of Nagal can’t get enough support, then it’s failure of the system.
Nagal gets support from the Virat Kohli Foundation, but it does not cover all expenses. “They are providing a good amount but as you can see in tennis you need a team like all the top 100 players have – coach, fitness, physio etc which adds up,” said Bhupathi.