Tennis Wasn't the First Choice of Sumit Nagal, the Young Indian Sensation Who Gave Federer a Scare
22-year-old Sumit Nagal, on Tuesday, became the first Indian ever to win a set against GOAT Roger Federer at US Open 2019.
Roger Federer and Sumit Nagal shake hands after their match in the first round of the 2019 US Open. (Photo: Reuters)
From being the sixth Indian to lift the Wimbledon junior Grand Slam Title to becoming the first Indian ever to win a set against GOAT Roger Federer at US Open 2019, tennis player Sumit Nagal has come a long way. But tennis wasn't Nagal's first choice of sport.
The 190th ranked Nagal, who had to play the qualifying rounds just to earn a dream Grand Slam debut, put up a spirited performance against Federer on Tuesday, taking the Swiss star down 6-4 in the first set.
So good was Nagal in the first set that even the post-match presenter couldn't help but quip Federer with a Nadal-Nagal question.
“We change the ‘G’ and add a ‘D’ - did you think for a second it was Nadal?”
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 27, 2019
Federer, sticking to his usual game, finished the match comfortably by defeating Nagal in the next three sets but not before the tennis sensation from Jhajjar in Haryana brought in some fight in the final set.
Federer 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 Nagal
But before Nagal made a mark in the tennis world, did you know he was inclined more towards cricket? In an interview with GlintTv dated 2015, Nagal revealed just that.
"I used to play a lot of cricket in gullies and one day my dad decided, he's like 'Let's go try another sport'. He's like 'I don't want you to play cricket'," Nagal said.
"That's how I picked up tennis." Nagal also added that veteran Mahesh Bhupathi has had a big role in his life and how he assisted and monitored him with the game and finding him money to pursue the sport.
Not Federer but Rafael Nadal has been a source of inspiration to Nagal. "Always liked Nadal, always liked his hunger."
Meanwhile, before the much-anticipated match, Nagal was backed up by the countrymen and women including the cricket skipper Virat Kohli. "A humongous task facing the great @rogerfederer, but we will be cheering for you," Kohli wrote in a tweet.
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) August 26, 2019
— Sumit Nagal (@nagalsumit) August 26, 2019
What are Federer's thoughts on the young sensation from India? "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," said Federer.
"He knows what he can bring. That's why I think he's going to have a very solid career," he further added praising 22-year-old's maiden and solid performance at one of the biggest stages of the sport.
Here's how he qualified for his first US Open:
You the mannnnnn 💪💪💪@nagalsumit
— Rohan Bopanna (@rohanbopanna) August 23, 2019
With that, @nagalsumit qualifies for his first @usopen !! 👏👏. He plays Federer on Monday nite for his first round at #FlushingMeadows . Everyone in NYC and NJ please go support & cheer for this amazing young player! 💪🏼 🇮🇳!!! pic.twitter.com/wjxcyYsG32
— Lara Dutta Bhupathi (@LaraDutta) August 24, 2019
You can catch Nagal's old interview here:
And in case you missed Federer-Nagal match, you can catch the updates here.
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