“None of us are doing this to be just Top 200 ATP” – Sascha Nensel, on his association with Sumit Nagal

On the back of a stupendous run in the ATP Challengers, where he made 5 SFs in his last 7 tournaments, Sumit Nagal has reached a career high ATP ranking of 204.

Sumit has been training at the Nensel Tennis Academy in Peine, Germany, under head coach Sascha Nensel and his team. Sascha has coached former Top 10 players Nicolas Keifer and Julia Goerges in the past.

Indians winning a match on European clay at the ATP Challenger level is uncommon. While Sumit had been doing this quite regularly since 2016, when he was 18, it is only recently that he’s been able to make deeper inroads in such tournaments.

He’s had 5 SF finishes in his last 7 Challenger tournaments on clay across America and Europe, which is a historic feat for an Indian Tennis player. But when we asked Sascha Nensel, who, along with his team at the Nensel Tennis Academy, is taking care of Sumit’s training, about his “amazing” run in the past few weeks, he wasn’t impressed. He said “Amazing is winning the tournament. We are working hard to get there soon.”

“We have known each other for a long time. Milos Galecic, who’s the Director of Fitness at the academy, used to be Somdev’s(Devvarman) fitness trainer. After leaving Spain, Sumit asked Milos for help, and we all ended up working together.”

Sumit was training in Spain until last year, at the Ferrer Tennis Academy, under David Ferrer’s brother, Javier Ferrer.

Sumit and Sascha during the ATP Milan Challenger in Italy(Credits – Nensel Tennis Academy)

“We are working on pretty much everything. In modern day men’s tennis, you cannot survive with any weakness. His body is improving and getting step by step closer to where we want him to be. It’s only possible when the gym work is very close to the work on the court”, says Sascha, when asked about what aspects of Sumit’s game have been worked on in the past few months.

The efforts seem to be bearing fruit, as Sumit has catapulted to a career high ATP Ranking of 204 from a lowly 351 in the matter of just a few months. He’s scored huge scalps on the way, beating the likes of Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Martin Klizan, Santiago Giraldo, Corentin Moutet, to name a few. The win over Klizan was particularly impressive, given Klizan is a Top 60 player, and had beaten the likes of Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem in the clay season only last year.

Sascha Nensel(extreme right) at the academy(Photo Rights: Kevin Münkel, Hannover)

“Surely we want him to play where the level is high and where you can win the most points. Otherwise you don’t improve, and cannot get the amount of points you need to make the next big step. First priority is to be healthy and keep improving his body and his tennis”, says Sascha, when asked if there will be a conscious effort to make Sumit play more of ATP 250 and 500 events, given his good performance against higher ranked players.

Sumit will be seen at the qualifying event of the ATP 500 Hamburg event starting today. The hunger within him and his coaching team seems to be very clear. “None of us are doing this to be just top 200 ATP”, Sascha signs off.

Name – Nensel Tennis Academy
Location – Peine, Germany
Inception – September 2015
Facilities – Four clay courts, three rebound ace hard courts. Complete accommodation. Boarding school.
Goal – To get the best out of every player. Work with a select set of players and give them the best platform to be successful. Players starting from 11 years old up to ITF junior-players, future-players and finally professionals.

Milos Galecic at the gym working with the players(Photo Rights: Kevin Münkel, Hannover)

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