“Sumit’s forehand is tough for even the top guys to handle” – Sascha Nensel, Sumit’s Coach

By Vatsal Tolasaria – 31st August, 2019

Sumit Nagal’s been having a stupendous run this season, first at the ATP Challengers, where he made 5 semi-finals in the last 7 tournaments he played, and then at the US Open, where he qualified for his first Grand Slam, and the gave the mighty Roger Federer a scare. On the back of his US Open run, we caught up with Sascha Nensel, head coach of the Nensel Tennis Academy, the place where Sumit’s been training at.

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.

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

Excerpts from our chat –

Q. How does it feel to see Sumit do so well in a Slam that’s not on his favorite surface? Especially having played clay challengers exclusively in the lead up.

We are really happy for him for how he did at the US Open. In Hamburg, he already showed that he has the level to be dangerous for the top guys(Sumit had lost 2-6 6-7(2) to Richard Gasquet), after having had the chance to serve for the 2nd set). The injury(ankle) came in a bad moment. I believe that Sumit can do good on hard courts as well.

Q. Sumit’s forehand gave Federer a lot of trouble. But his serve was proving to be a weakness as he was not able get a lot of free points on it. Do you think it’ll be a handicap for him as he goes up the ranking ladder in the men’s game?

Sumit’s forehand is his shot right now and yes, even for top guys it is hard to handle. But even with this shot he has room to improve.

His serve has gotten better already in the last 6 months. Also, with this shot, there is still a lot of work that lies ahead of us. He just has to accept that it’s not about serving aces for him. It’s about percentage and placement. His body is not built to serve bullets to all corners all the time.

Q. Federer had a lot of words of praise for Sumit post the match. How do you feel about his comments?

It’s always nice to hear good words from someone like Roger.

But let’s not get carried away. Sumit is going to back to the Challenger grind on clay again starting Monday. It is going to be tough switching back mentally to playing Challengers, where there is hardly anyone watching. It won’t be easy for him. It’s the reality, and he has to accept this.


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