After scoring a big upset in the first round of the Australian Open juniors, India’s top-ranked junior Sumit Nagal talks to Sports Rediscovered about his win, his plans for the year and his team in this exclusive interview.
17-year-old Sumit Nagal is considered one of the brightest young prospects in Indian tennis and on Saturday, he scored a big upset win over the World No. 7 Michael Mmoh in the first round of the Australian Open boys singles event.
Nagal needed nearly two hours to beat the fifth seeded Mmoh 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 and says he is feeling confident about his game after a shoulder injury interrupted his schedule in 2014.
“I surely didn’t play a lot of tournaments last year due to my shoulder injury. Hopefully I will be healthy this year and be able to play the whole season. “
Regarding the match itself, Nagal says,
“I knew it was gonna be a tough match. Like you said, he is World No. 7 in the juniors. It was a really high quality match . We were both playing good tennis. I am playing well and fighting for every match . That’s what gives me a lot of confidence and I am feeling good about my game.”
Currently ranked No. 1571 in the ATP rankings, Nagal plans to play more senior events in 2015 as he hopes to transition to the pro tour.
“Definitely, I will be playing pros for sure this year. I am also going to play some juniors especially the slams and grade A events.”
And in his own words, he knows the transitions to the pro circuit is not going to be easy.
“Surely, I need to get fitter and mentally stronger.”
The teenager, who says his forehand is his best shot, is currently based in Offenbach, Germany where he trains at the Schuttler Waske Tennis Academy and idolizes 14-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal.
“I just totally love his attitude and the way he does his things.”
In a sport where many juniors do not have a proper support system, Nagal is among the fortunate few who has a good team behind him, having been managed by Mahesh Bhupathi since his formative years.
“I was very lucky enough to have Mahesh behind me and helping me since I was 11. So I really appreciate that.”
Nagal takes on Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki in the second round of the boys singles and also plays his first round doubles match with Norwegian partner Viktor Durasovic on Monday. Sports Rediscovered wishes him all the best and will be following him closely in the days ahead.