India’s Sumit Nagal has been granted a wildcard entry into the men’s singles main draw of the 2021 Australian Open.
The 23-year-old Nagal, who along with China’s Wang Xiyu received the tournament’s Aisa-Pacific slots, are among the eight athletes who will feature in the main draw as wildcards. This includes three-time Grand Slam and two-time Olympic champion, Andy Murray, Australians Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alex Bolt, among others.
Sumit Nagal was set to compete at the Australian Open qualifiers in Dubai next month but later withdrew his participation following the wildcard entry. It will be his third appearance in a Grand Slam main draw in as many years.
“I am very thankful to all the people who put the effort into helping me get a wildcard for the 2021 Australian Open. Thanks to Tennis Australia for all their effort to make this slam possible in these circumstances,” Nagal said on his Twitter handle.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Sumit Nagal was among a few to enjoy a fruitful 2020 that saw a career-high show at the US Open.
While the Indian featured in a few ATP Challenger events once competitions resumed post the pandemic-induced break, Nagal's biggest achievement came at the US Open where he became the first Indian in seven years to win a main draw match.
Though Sumit Nagal bowed out to the eventual title winner Dominic Thiem in the second round, the 23-year-old Indian impressed many with his grit. The year also saw Nagal achieve his career-best ranking of 122 in singles.
Other confirmed Indian participants at Australian Open will be doubles exponents Rohan Bopanna and Divj Sharan. While Bopanna will partner Portuguese Joao Sousa, Sharan will team up with Slovakian Igor Zelenay at the Melbourne Park.