Roger Federer: Sumit Nagal has a very solid career
Roger Federer praises Sumit Nagal after Indian qualifier wins first set to make World No. 3 sweat in opening tie
New York: Sumit Nagal is going to have a "very solid career", said Swiss icon Roger Federer after the Indian managed to take a set off him in a US Open first-round clash, relying on a game that is "really consistent".
Nagal lost 6-4, 1-6, 2-6, 4-6 in a match that lasted two hours and 50 minutes here on Monday night to bow out after making his maiden Grand Slam main draw. The debut, at least in the opening set, was impressive as he stretched a "rusty" Federer, a five-time champion here with a career tally of 20 Slams. Nagal became only the fourth Indian to win a set in the main draw of a Grand Slam in the last 20 years.
"It was a tough first set for me. He played pretty strong, so credit to him. I was missing a lot of balls, so I was trying to cut down the unforced errors. Hopefully, it will get better," said Federer.
"I think he knows what he can bring. That's why I think he's going to have a very solid career. But, of course it's not the game that comes out with the biggest surprises. It's really consistent. I think he did it very well tonight," he said.
Nagal, 24, troubled Federer quite a bit during the match and the Swiss legend's problems were also compounded by his own unforced errors.
Asked what he thought was the standout feature of Nagal, Federer said, "I guess maybe how he handled the moment. Never easy to come out and play your best. Even though it's kind of what you live for, you dream about, playing on the big stage. So I think he did that very well."
'Nadal or Nagal'
The Swiss let out a firm "no" when asked if he felt for a second that it was 'Nadal' and not 'Nagal' if the name of his rival on the scoreboard had a 'D' instead of a 'G'. "For you guys and social media, it is," he quipped.
While a "rusty" Federer was still measuring up his newest rival, ranked 190 in the ATP charts, Nagal, with his deep returns, was setting up winners — some eye-catching inside-out forehands. Federer had 19 unforced errors to nine of Nagal. Federer said Nagal's game seems like the one of a clay-court specialist. "His game is based on being really consistent, moving well. Sort of very much a clay-courter."
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