Former Indian no.1 singles tennis ace Somdev Devvarman believes that the fast-emerging Sumit Nagal will be the future of Indian tennis in the coming years.
The 22-year-old had an eye-catching season in 2019, where he impressed tennis legend Roger Federer by taking a set off him at the US Open in the first round and then went on to win the Buenos Aires Challenger.
Though the Haryana-lad is still striving to break into the top 100, the product of Mahesh Bhupati’s ‘Mission 2018’ initiative is one of Indian singles tennis’ biggest promises now.
And looking at his ascent on the pro circuit, Somdev Devvarman says Sumit Nagal will be the talk of the town in the coming days.
“In India, probably the most promising player right now is Sumit Nagal,” Somdev Devvarman said on the 100 Hours 100 Stars podcast.
“He is 22 years old and last year, he took a set against Roger in the US Open. The tennis conversation in India is going to revolve around Sumit for some time now,” he added.
Gunneswaran also in contention
While Sumit Nagal sits in the 127th position in ATP rankings with 423 points, he is closely followed by compatriot Prajnesh Gunneswaran at the 132nd place with 405 points.
The Chennai athlete, who previously broke into the top 100 to reach his career-best ATP ranking of 75 in 2019, has played in all the four Grand Slams with two consecutive appearances at the Australian Open.
And Somdev Devvarman believes that the two-time ATP Challenger singles title and the Asian Games bronze medallist is the other singles ace India can pin their hopes on.
“Prajnesh has been doing quite well too and the singles conversation will revolve around these guys for some years,” the former Asian Games gold medallist added.
Talents on the biggest stage
The choice became difficult when Somdev Devvarman was asked to pick promising talents on the international circuit.
With athletes like Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios and others showing the promise of taking over the baton from Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic of late, Somdev Devvarman was spoilt for choice.
“The excitement in global tennis is huge,” the 35-year-old said.
“Guys who are coming up right now like Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are showing that the next-gen is truly breaking through,” he added.
While the coronavirus outbreak has confined athletes to their homes for the last few months, the fitness enthusiast in Devvarman forced the retired athlete to makeshift his terrace into a gym.
“I am lucky that I have a terrace at home and as it is fairly unused, we moved all the gym equipment to the terrace. We have everything you need in terms of fitness,” Devvarman signed off.