India tennis ace Sumit Nagal, 25, is mighty pleased after winning the Tampere Open in Finland on Sunday, his second Challenger title of the year, having pocketed the Rome Challenger three months ago.
Nagal beat Czech Republic`s fifth-seeded Dalibor Svrcina 6-4, 7-5 in the summit clash on the clay surface, catapulting him to 178 in the ATP rankings. He was ranked 231 before this, but now, having climbed back into the top 200, he has a shot at playing in the qualifying rounds of the year`s last Grand Slam, the US Open (August 28 to September 10).
“Winning this [Tampere Open] heals a lot in terms of my rankings. This title will make sure that I am back into all the Slams for at least a year. I have missed out on a few of them [Grand Slams] recently, so it`s been a while,” Nagal, the last Indian men`s singles player to make it to the main draw of a Grand Slam—Australian Open in 2021—told mid-day.com on Monday.
Injuries haven`t been kind to Nagal and a hip surgery in late 2021 meant he would always have to work extra hard thereafter to achieve glory internationally. He has, and is pleased with the results. “Winning makes you feel good especially with the week I had here,” said the Indian champ, who made a smashing Grand Slam debut at the 2019 US Open, taking a set off the legendary Roger Federer.
The Asian Games (September 23 to October 8) is not too far away, but Nagal obviously has other commitments before that in the lead up to the US Open. “I don’t like to think so far ahead [about the Asian Games]. I am more of a day-to-day guy. There`s no point in putting pressure on yourself. I will be leaving for Verona, Italy, as of now, where I will be playing my next tournament,” added Nagal, who Instagrammed a photograph with his Tampere Open winner`s trophy alongside his fitness trainer Milos Galecic and wrote. “This trophy is as much his as it is mine. My fitness trainer has been an integral part of my development as a player and as a human being. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of support from many loving coaches, family members, and friends. I hope to continue to work hard and make them proud & maybe win a few more along the way.”
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