Why Nagal could not build on Bengaluru Open success

first_imgBy Amanpreet Singh Pune, Nov 25 (PTI) This week, last year Sumit Nagal savoured the week of his tennis life by winning his maiden Challenger singles title in Bengaluru and his ranking zoomed up from 321 to 225. The Jhajjar-born player, handpicked by Mahesh Bhupathi for support, hoped to build on the success but an experiment with his support staff, coupled with injuries, proved costly and the same week this season, his ranking is set to plummet to close to 500. Between November to November he played 24 tournaments and was knocked out in the first round in 16 of them, the most recent being the Pune Challenger, where he lost to top seed Radu Albot. When new rankings are issued on Monday, he is likely to be placed 485 after losing 100 points from his kitty. However, his Haryanvi blood — which makes him aggressive and at times temperamental — and hiring of the desired coaching staff means that Nagal is not losing sleep. “In tennis it is normal to have a year when you do not perform as you are expected to. It will just take a month or two to get back. I think I am good enough to not be there at 400s for a long time,” Nagal told PTI. After the high of Bengaluru Open, Nagal changed his base to Javea (close to Valencia) in Spain, where he worked with David Ferrer’s brother Javier. This was because his favourite people at Waske Academy Mariano and Yakub were not there anymore. The shift, Nagal said, upset his training style and he lost crucial five months from February to June.advertisement “Javier had different vision. It took us time to start trusting each other on tennis courts but that trust never came, maybe because I was not performing well. It could have been my fault, or his fault. It just did not click,” he explained. “There were some patterns where he wanted me to hit, say C before a ball, but I wanted to hit B. Then there were shoulder and hip injuries. I don’t know why. So If I am injured, what will he do?” Nagal said he was keen to train with Milos Galecic from last year but due to the Serbian’s prior commitments, it could not happen. But since September, he is with him in Paine, Germany. “I have been playing well since then. Tennis is not a problem,” he said, adding that his immediate goal is to make French Open Qualifiers this year. That he is confident and aggressive is often seen on courts, where he fights for every ball, and can be seen arguing with umpires over disputed calls. “It comes from where I belong to. It is in blood. That is how my family is. My mother is calmer but my father, sister and I are aggressive. We snap in a second. Haryanvis are like that.” His aggressive attitude is reflected in the kind of tattoos he sports — a growling lion pierced on the midriff and a warrior holding a Samurai on his left arm. “I like tattoos,” he said, slightly reluctant to talk about it. Asked if he needs to change his approach and be more calm, pat came the reply. “Right now it has not caused me any problems. I have a team and I don’t think I need to change and have someone else around me.” When countered that he did make a bad choice by refusing to play the Davis Cup tie against Serbia in September this year, Nagal clarified that he had never committed to play, due to injuries. “I never refused to play the tie. When I got the first e-mail in June, I was still injured. I did not know how my shoulder is going to be. I told them (AITA) that I am not available for the tie. “My shoulder got better end of August. Then Yuki pulled out and I get an email that I was in (team). If I was playing for myself, it was different but I was playing for the team. Playing individually, I can stop any time but in Davis Cup I can’t do that. That’s a bad choice If I do that.” Asked if he did want to play a tournament at the same time, he said, “It was supposed to be my first tournament. I had not played for seven weeks.” He insisted that he did not put conditions for playing but sought AITA’s help to get a wild card for Romania Challenger. Nagal said this was the only truth behind him missing the Serbia tie. Interestingly, one of the tattoos on his chest says “Satyamev Prakashyate, Gupt Vaarta na Bhashyate (truth can’t be hidden and secrets can not be spoken)”. PTI AT AHadvertisementlast_img read more

Read More »