India tennis star Sumit Nagal wins and grins!

Updated: Jun 30, 2020, 11:46 IST | Ashwin Ferro | Mumbai

India's leading tennis player pleased to make winning return in Hamburg after Coronavirus-caused break

India's Sumit Nagal after winning in Germany on Sunday
India's Sumit Nagal after winning in Germany on Sunday

India's highest ranked singles tennis player Sumit Nagal (World No. 127) can finally afford a smile, having played and won his first tournament following a lengthy four-month period that saw almost no competitive action the world over.

On Sunday, Nagal won the PSD Bank Nord Open title at the Nensel Tennis Academy in Pinneberg, near Hamburg, where he has been training throughout the Coronavirus-caused lockdown. He beat German Daniel Masur 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

'It's great to be back'
"More than the win, it was great to get back into competition after four months. We [tennis players] are used to playing every week or second week, so a four-month break is unheard of, unless there is a serious injury. This was a prize-money tournament organised by the German tennis federation and carried no ATP points. Most of the players were in the top 250, so the competition was pretty good too," Nagal, 22, told mid-day on Monday.

Nagal was in Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Open in March when things got locked down globally due to the pandemic. He chose to train in Germany instead of returning home to Delhi. "I made the right decision because even now, there are no flights to India and even if there were, the virus situation there is pretty bad, so it's better I remain in Germany," added Nagal, who famously took a set off Roger Federer in the first round at last year's US Open.

Finances, however, continue to be bother the youngster.

"Finances are a problem because we rely on prize money from tournaments, but there have been no events. Even some of my sponsors are having problems and I can understand their situation. It's great that some of the world's top players have started a fund for those who aren't earning much, but the ATP should be doing a lot more than what they are. It's not like they have to take care of a million players. It's just a few hundred. They keep saying that they're trying their best, but it's been four months and it's sad that they haven't done much," added Nagal, who had a brilliant last season, winning the Buenos Aires Challenger besides making five other semi-finals on the Challenger Circuit.

US Open doubtful: Nagal
Coming back to his win in Germany, Nagal said it was weird to see fans in facemasks and felt it will be almost possible to enforce strict regulations for spectators at bigger events like Grand Slams.

"This was a small tournament with not more than 100 people but everyone was screened for their body temperature, every seat in the house was sanitised every 30-40 minutes and masks were compulsory. It's difficult to implement these regulations at the Slams. I'll be very surprised if the US Open happens this year because things are not looking good in America and the government will not be too happy to see a lot of people entering their country," Nagal signed off.

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