Sumit Nagal wants to make the upcoming Australian Open a memorable one.
The 23-year-old Indian tennis player has had a knack of producing remarkable results in his career so far and he intends to add to it when the season’s first Grand Slam gets underway next month.
In his debut Grand Slam in 2019, Sumit Nagal took a set off Roger Federer at the US Open and last year at Flushing Meadows, he became the first Indian in seven years to win a Grand Slam main draw singles match.
The Australian Open is Nagal’s third Grand Slam, where the world No. 138 has been handed a wild card entry.
But history has been against Sumit Nagal at Melbourne Park. He was ousted in each of the first qualifying rounds of the Grand Slam in 2018 and 2020. But that could all change, according to the Indian.
“I have never had a good result here (Australia),” Nagal told The Hindu. “So, I want to create some good memories.
“Whenever I played juniors or qualifiers, I was never in great shape mentally or physically,” he admitted.
Nagal hasn’t quite managed to go all the way whenever he has been Down Under. In 2016, he participated in two ITF tournaments in Australia; he reached the semis in Blacktown and the quarter-final in the Wollongong event. That same year, he got ousted in the round of 16 in an ATP Challenger Tour tournament held in Canberra.
But it’s different this time, claims the lad from Jhajjar.
“Compared to two years before, I am serving better, hitting my forehand bigger and my backhand cleaner,” Nagal explained. “I have worked a lot on my serve.
“I am not a big guy and I really need to have a good percentage of serves in and be ready to attack the return. I run a lot and run heavy. At the end of last year, I had to stop a match because of an injury. So, I am focusing on my body a lot as well.”
This time, Sumit Nagal will start his campaign in Australia with the Murray River Open ATP 250 event. He will be up against Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis on Monday in the opening round.
The Australian Open starts on February 8.