With a record eight semi-final appearances on the ATP Challenger Tour this season, rising star Sumit Nagal has managed to grab the attention of the entire nation. The legendary Sania Mirza also weighed in with her opinion on the young lad from Jhajjar.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Fenesta Nationals in New Delhi, where she was the chief guest, Sania said – “Sumit is a great talent. I have been hearing about him for more than 5 years now, especially from Mahesh(Bhupathi), who’s been supporting and mentoring Sumit from the start. But it is nice to finally see the results coming in.”
“He’s already around 130-135 in the world, which is incredible. The most impressive part about him is how makes up for his lack of height with his swiftness around the court. He knows his strengths and has an incredible work ethic. It’ll be really nice to have another man in the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings.”
Talking about the women’s side of things, Sania had words of encouragement for the likes of Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi – “Ankita and Karman is the next generation of Indian Tennis. But having said that, they are not that young anymore. They are 26 and 21 respectively. They have cracked the Top 200 already, which has not happened since I stopped playing singles. So that’s a good thing. Hopefully they’ll be able to take the next step and cross the Top 100 barrier as well.”
“Things are better on the men’s side for sure. You’ve had the likes of Somdev(Devvarman) and Prajnesh(Gunneswaran) cracking the top 100. And now you have Sumit and Ramkumar(Ramanathan) knocking on the doors. But the fact is – I would really like to see Ankita, Karman and the others crack the top 100. Because I’m not going to play forever, and when I stop playing, it’ll be nice to see other Indian women keeping the tri-color flying high at the Grand Slams. I don’t want to see Indian Tennis go back to where we were 15-20 years ago,” she said, as she signed off.