Sumit Nagal may not have had the best of starts on tour in 2020, but that does not deter him from being confident ahead of his Pune campaign, and the rest of the season. Sumit talks about the conditions in Pune, goals for 2020, schedule after Pune and much more –

All photos at Sumit’s practice session at the Balewadi Stadium on Sunday by Ranjith Kumar.

Q) You played here in 2018 and qualified into the main draw. How does it feel to be back in Pune?

When I came here last year, I didn’t even get into the tournament, not even qualifying. But this year, being in the main draw does feel good. Last year was good, a lot of good tournaments & a lot of good matches. Coming here, qualifying in 2018 was a good feeling. 2019 not so much but now this year I feel even better.

Q) How do you think the conditions here at the Balewadi Stadium suit your game?

I think it is the bounce, the courts are bouncy. It’s a little fast too, I am not going to lie. The bounce is because of the altitude, as when there is a bit of altitude, the ball tends to jump more. And that is what I like.

Q)  Talking about the draw, you play a qualifier in the 1st round. Troicki, Haase, etc – there are some solid players in there. How are you preparing for it? (Sumit plays Troicki in Round 1, as announced later in the evening)

I am looking forward to it. I can’t wait to play my first round whenever I get a chance. For me, whoever comes it’s going to be good match, a good opportunity to play here and fight for ATP points.

Q) You’ve had a slow start to the 2020 season, playing just one match so far. How do you approach the rest of the season?

Unfortunately, at the end of last year, I got sick so I couldn’t play the Challengers that I was looking to play. Not too much of training before the Australian Open either, but I tried my best. That’s part and parcel of any sportsperson’s life, sometimes you get injured at crucial junctures and that’s what happened. It’s a long year ahead, I have missed maybe just one or two tournaments. There are ten more months left. In Tennis, you just need a solid week or two to get back wherever you want to be.

Q) How does your schedule post Bangalore look like? There aren’t any tournaments on clay until mid-March

I am trying to play Dubai, then Davis Cup & after that Indian Wells, followed by maybe a Challenger & then Miami. Then I start on clay, everything starts by the first week of April on clay unless I am planning to play South America, which I am not.

Q)  Is someone from your team accompanying you here – coach, fitness trainer or physio?

My fitness trainer is here with me, Milos Galecic. He will be there in Bengaluru next week as well.

Q) Lastly, where do you want to see yourself at the end of 2020?

I would like to aim to finish around 60-70 in the ATP Rankings. That would be nice.

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