Why Nagal could not build on Bengaluru Open success
This week last year Sumit Nagal savoured the week of his tennis life by winning his maiden Challenger Singles title in Bengaluru and his ranking zoomed up from 321 to 225
Pune : This week last year Sumit Nagal savoured the week of his tennis life by winning his maiden Challenger Singles title in Bengaluru and his ranking zoomed up from 321 to 225.
The Jhajjar-born player, handpicked by Mahesh Bhupathi for support, hoped to build on the success but an experiment with his support staff, coupled with injuries, proved costly and the same week this season, his ranking is set to plummet to close to 500.
Between November to November he played 24 tournaments and was knocked out in the first round in 16 of them, the most recent being the Pune Challenger, where he lost to top seed Radu Albot. When new rankings are issued on Monday, he is likely to be placed 485 after losing 100 points from his kitty.
However, his Haryanvi blood -- which makes him aggressive and at times temperamental - and hiring of the desired coaching staff means that Nagal is not losing sleep.
“In tennis it is normal to have a year when you do not perform as you are expected to. It will just take a month or two to get back. I think I am good enough to not be there at 400s for a long time,” Nagal said.
After the high of Bengaluru Open, Nagal changed his base to Javea (close to Valencia) in Spain, where he worked with David Ferrer's brother Javier.
This was because his favourite people at Waske Academy – Mariano and Yakub – were not there anymore. The shift, Nagal said, upset his training style and he lost crucial five months from February to June.
Nagal said he was keen to train with Milos Galecic from last year but due to the Serbian's prior commitments, it could not happen. But since September, he is with him in Paine, Germany.
“I have been playing well since then. Tennis is not a problem,” he said, adding that his immediate goal is to make French Open Qualifiers this year. That he is confident and aggressive is often seen on courts, where he fights for every ball, and can be seen arguing with umpires over disputed calls.
“It comes from where I belong to. It is in blood. That is how my family is. My mother is calmer but my father, sister and I are aggressive. We snap in a second. Haryanvis are like that.”
if he did want to play a tournament at the same time, he said, “It was supposed to be my first tournament. I had not played for seven weeks.” He insisted that he did not put conditions for playing but sought AITA's help to get a wild card for Romania Challenger.
Nagal said this was the only truth behind him missing the Serbia tie. Interestingly, one of the tattoos on his chest says, “Satyamev Prakashyate, Gupt Vaarta na Bhashyate (truth can't be hidden and secrets cannot be spoken).”