Sumit Nagal’s first-round win at the US Open 2020 has ended India’s seven-year-long for any success at a tennis Grand Slam.
Nagal prevailed over Bradley Klanh of the USA 6-1, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the first-round encounter. He next runs into world No. 3 Dominic Thiem at the Flushing Meadows, New York.
Thiem walked into the second round as his Spanish rival Jaume Munar retired while trailing 6-7 (6), 3-6.
“I am ready and excited to play him. It’s going to be fun and (I will) see where I stand in terms of my tennis level,” he said.
Nagal returned Flushing Meadows with some inspiring memories when he had taken a set off Roger Federer on his US Open debut last year. To win his first Grand Slam match, the promising Indian toiled for two hours and 12 minutes
Somdev Devvarman was the last player to win a Grand Slam match for India, incidentally also at the US Open in 2013.
“I qualified for a junior Slam in 2013 here and then the men’s and now to win my first round here means a lot. I enjoy playing here and it has worked out in my favour few times,” Nagal told PTI.
“It was not easy to walk inside the court knowing this match is more in your favour. I was definitely nervous and especially playing for my first slam win but I did the things I was supposed to and kept my composure.”
Between 2013 and this year, Yuki Bhambri and Prajnesh Gunneswaran had made to the main draws at the Grand Slams, but they couldn’t earn anything more than the pride of participation.
Nagal said Indian tennis should have done better and partly blamed it on the not-so-helpful “system” as well. “In one way, yes (happy for the major win) but in another way, we could do so much better. We have so many people playing this sport, we have great talent but no system, which makes me feel sad,” the 23-year-old said without elaborating much.