Partnership forged on Facebook, crown sealed at Wimbledon: Ly-Sumit's Grand Slam story 

Ly Haong Nam reveals how a Facebook chat between him and Sumit Nagal led the pair to the 2015 Wimbledon boys' Doubles title.

Ly Hoang Nam and Sumit Nagal pose after clinching the 2015 Junior Wimbledon Doubles title.   -  Special Arrangement

Sumit Nagal shot to fame after he clinched the Wimbledon boys’ doubles title in 2015. Among the hubbub surrounding his victory where he became the sixth Indian to lift a junior Grand Slam title, his partner from Vietnam seemed inconsequential to Indian media.

On that same day, Ly Hoang Nam became the first tennis player from Vietnam to win a Grand Slam trophy. Ly was at the Chennai Open Challenger, partnering Sumit again in men’s doubles, as the pair renewed a doubles partnership that first popped up on a Facebook chat.

“I texted him [Sumit] on Facebook asking if he wants to partner me,” Ly said in a chat with Sportstar. “Both of us didn’t have a doubles partner and I texted him.”

Ly Hoang Nam and Sumit Nagal celebrate pose with their Wimbledon boys' title.   -  Twitter

 

The pair had never struck up a conversation before the Facebook chat and a Wimbledon victory - albeit junior - shortly after, was unexpected.

“We saw each other in a junior circuit tournament before that but we never spoke.

“We got together to just play the tournament. We didn’t expect to win the tournament but we somehow did. Good memories,” recalled Ly.

 

Ly and Sumit withdrew from their second round doubles match at the Chennai Open Challenger on Thursday after the Indian fell ill on the morning of the match.

“After Wimbledon we actually didn’t see each other for at least half a year. But once we got a wildcard entry into a Challenger in Vietnam and we played doubles there. We lost there but we’ve played well. Even here, both us played well but we just got a bit unlucky today,” Ly said.

The 21-year-old, who has a singles ranking of 422, has decided to direct his focus to singles this year. “My goal for the year is to break into top-300 in singles. I want to focus more on singles than doubles. I still want to play some doubles but focus more on singles,” he said.

With the new ITF rules that came into effect this year, lower-ranked players like Ly, who got a wildcard entry here, will have a tough time progressing.

“I don’t think it’s good. Last year the whole system was much better. This year the players don’t like it because a lot of them can’t get into these tournaments. For me too, it’s really tough to get into Challengers. My ranking is around 400 but I couldn’t get in here,” he noted.