Tennis

Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal hands Sumit Nagal direct entry to US Open

Ranked 127 in the ATP standings, Sumit Nagal is currently the top Indian men’s singles tennis player in the world. 

By Utathya Nag ·

Top-ranked Indian men’s tennis player Sumit Nagal has secured direct entry to the US Open, scheduled from August 31 to September 13 this year.

With Rafael Nadal deciding not to defend his US Open crown, and several other top players like Stan Wawrinka, Nick Kyrgios, Fabio Fognini, and Gael Monfils also opting out due to the COVID-19 situation, Sumit Nagal made the cut for the men’s singles event based on his ranking.

Currently 127th in the ATP leaderboard, the 22-year-old Nagal is the last player to made it into the field of 128. Sumit Nagal’s compatriot Prajnesh Gunneswaran, ranked 132, made it into the standby list.

“I will be going with one of my coaches so we will be discussing (the logistics) in a bit. I still don't know how I am going to fly, I will probably be flying out to New York (from Europe) in three weeks,” Sumit Nagal, who is in Germany, told the New Indian Express.

Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal has secured direct entry to the US Open

Nagal lauded the US Open organisers for making plans to host the tournament despite the pandemic but feared that the Grand Slam may still get cancelled.

Sumit Nagal’s road to the US Open

Sumit Nagal burst onto the scene on the back of a stellar display at the US Open last year. The youngster won three qualifier matches to make it into the main event of his maiden Grand Slam. 

Drawn against Roger Federer in the first round, the Indian lost the match but turned heads after taking a set off the Swiss legend.

Nagal was one of the first Indian athletes to return to competitive action after the long COVID-enforced global lockdown as he participated and won the PSD Bank Nord Open tennis tournament in Germany.

Sumit Nagal, who trains at the Nensel Tennis Academy in Germany, stayed back in Europe due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

Heading into the US Open, the youngster is also scheduled to play in the Prague Open – an ATP Challenger 125 event – next week.

“It's always good to play matches before heading to a Slam. I know this is going to be on clay but it's good to play matches on any surface rather than play no matches,” Nagal said.

Eyeing a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, the Jhajjar-born Nagal will be eager to make the most of every opportunity that comes his way.