Tokyo 2020: Sumit Nagal eyes Olympics main draw

Sumit Nagal had a phenomenal 2019 season, the highlight being taking a set off Roger Federer in the first round of the US Open.

Sumit Nagal celebrates after winning the first set against Roger Federer at the US Open.   -  Getty Images

Sumit Nagal’s been having his pre-season training at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) courts in the city.

Speaking with Sportstar on the sidelines of the Aspire high performance tennis program launch, he said, “It’s been a week now (of training.) It’s halfway to Australia. Plus, it’s a little warm and humid; something you want before Melbourne.”

Nagal had a phenomenal 2019, the highlight being taking a set off Roger Federer in the first round of the US Open.

Asked how he’s looking to carry the momentum forward, he said: “There’s no guarantee in tennis or any sports. Right now, all I’m gonna focus on is to take it week by week; try to keep doing the right things. I think the results will come.

“Mostly, the aim is to play the ATP Tour this year, but I also have to improve my ranking. I’m gonna make sure I make use of the events and take things from there.”

Talking about the 2020 Olympics qualification, the 22-year-old said: “I’ve got that in mind. But I have to be in the ranking zone — around 80-85 is what you have to look at to make it to the Olympics main draw.”

Reviewing the 2019 season, he said: “The biggest factor this season was staying injury-free. In the last four-five years, every year it’s been like I’ve played seven months, eight months, seven months, six months... So, this is the first time in the last five years that I’ve played a whole year without getting injured. The only injury I had was an ankle tear earlier in the summer. But other than that, the body’s been fine.”

Talking about the huge positive impact of the team of support staff he has now: “It’s not easy to work with the people you want to. There are a lot of things involved. Bringing together a team that’s in sync with each other is one of the hardest things to do.”

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