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Tennis: No net gains here

Updated on: 21 September,2023 09:13 AM IST  |  New Delhi

India’s No. 1 player Sumit Nagal struggling to live comfortably off the game due to lack of sponsorship; reveals he has just 900 euros left in the bank

Tennis: No net gains here

India’s Sumit Nagal serves to Morocco’s Yassine Dlimi during their Davis Cup tie in Lucknow on Sunday. Pic/Getty Images

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Tennis: No net gains here

After arranging for a sustenance budget of Rs 1 crore that keeps him going on the ATP Tour, India’s No. 1 tennis player Sumit Nagal is left with less than Rs 1 lakh in his bank account and a morose feeling of not leading a comfortable life. He has been training at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany for a few years but lack of funds meant that he could not train at his favourite place in the first three months of season 2023.

Friends helping Nagal

His friends Somdev Devvarman and Christopher Marquis helped him stay in shape in January and February before he finally managed to fund his stay in Germany. To stay and play on the extravagant ATP Tour, Nagal has invested all his prize money, his salary from IOCL and the support he gets from Maha Tennis Foundation. The expenditure is related to his stay at the training centre in Peine and his travel for tournaments along with either his coach or a physio.

“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros [approx Rs 80,000]. I am currently getting help from Prashant Sutar through Maha Tennis Foundation and I also get a monthly [salary] from IOCL, but the funding needed to break into the Top 100 is around one crore,” Nagal told PTI in an interview.

Apparel sponsor in place

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Nagal’s racquet, shoes and apparel needs are being taken care of by Yonex and Asics respectively. This year, in 24 tournaments played, Nagal has earned around R65 lakh with his biggest pay cheque coming from the US Open where he lost in the first round of the Qualifiers and still pocketed $22,000 (approx Rs 18 lakh).

“I’m investing whatever I’m making. The yearly cost, where I travel with one coach, is around Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1 crore and that’s just with one coach [no physio]. Whatever I’ve made, I’ve invested. I’m lacking suport despite being India’s No. 1 player for the past few years. I’m the only player to qualify for Grand Slams, only player to win a [tennis] match at the Olympics [Tokyo] and still the government has not added my name to the TOPS [Target Olympic Podium Scheme],” Nagal said.

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