One of India’s brightest talents Sumit Nagal recently played Roger Federer in the first round of the US Open and even though he lost 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, he made every one sit up and take notice in what was a dream fixture.
The young tennis player however is well grounded and grateful to Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli as it is the Virat Kohli foundation that has supported him in the difficult professional journey.
Nagal told Bombay Times, “Virat Kohli’s foundation has been supporting me since 2017. I haven’t been performing well for the last two years and was facing a financial crisis. If I didn’t have Virat Kohli supporting me, I don’t know what I would have done. Early this year, when I was flying from Canada to Germany after a tournament, I had six dollars in my wallet… just six dollars after the help that I have been getting, so imagine what a mess I must have been before. But I survived, and things are getting better. If people fund athletes, it will only help the sport flourish in the country. I am fortunate to get that support from Virat."
Talking about the 22-year-old Indian, Federer said, “[It’s] Never easy to come out and play your best. Even though it’s kind of what you live for, you dream about, playing on the big stage. So I think he did that very well. I think he knows what he can bring. That’s why I think he’s going to have a very solid career."
Nagal is only the second Indian player to take a set off Roger Federer as Leander Paes had beaten Federer in the 2000 Indian Wells qualifying. The score was 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.
The Virat Kohli foundation was started in 2013 with the motive of helping sportspersons across the country achieve their dreams. The foundation also works with various NGO’s and underprivileged children to create awareness through sports.