“Last two rounds have been good, I’m playing well and I’m confident” – Sumit Nagal after qualifying to the main draw of the Chennai Open ATP Challenger 2023

Sumit Nagal beat Ji Sung Nam 6-1, 6-3 in one hour and 28 minutes to secure his place in the main draw of the Chennai Open ATP Challenger 2023 where he faces fourth seed Ryan Peniston, of Great Britain. Here are a few excerpts from his post-match Press Conference.

Q) You’re into the main draw now, what are you initial thoughts?

It’s always fun to play in India. I haven’t played in a while here considering not much happened last year and then COVID-19 happening for a couple of years. Last two rounds have been good, I’m playing well and I’m confident. I think all things are very important for me and I feel very good about it.

Q) What was your mindset like heading into the Chennai Challenger?

Last few weeks I’ve been playing decent tennis. I’m trying to take the positive out of the level that I’ve raised against top 50 or top 10 players. I’m surely trying to use that in a way where I can play that level in the Challengers and not just against players where let’s say I’m the favorite, because when you’re the underdog it’s a different story. 

Q) Can you talk about the on-court conditions?

It’s quite humid, quite hot. I think the only time one can play in conditions like this is probably five times a year, so to go used to this you have to come early. I came on Wednesday to get used to the weather.

Q) You lost a couple of your previous qualifying matches this year, was that on your mind when playing qualifying in Chennai this week?

Yeah, one of the matches I lost from being match points up. So, looking at it, you can’t win all the matches. You are going to feel bad about it, that you probably went for a down-the-line and he somehow made it. Did I do something tactically wrong? Not really. I know I’m playing well, and when I lost these matches I didn’t want to be negative. I can only take confidence from a match and choose to move forward. 

Q) How difficult is it to recover from an injury and regain your form?

It’s very difficult, I think it largely depends upon the kind of injury you have. For me, it was the hip, so I had to have a lot of trust when I decided to start playing again. To play and move the way I want to, it took me around five to six months. So you don’t play for six months, and then another six months to fully trust your body, that’s a year already. End of the last season is when I would say I started playing better and better. 

Q) How did your surgery affect your game? 

I couldn’t move to my forehand side, I mean you can change small thing but your gamestyle remains the same. So, I just needed more matches to feel my game again.

Q) Can you talk about your Davis Cup experience against Denmark earlier this month, and your match against Holger Rune?

I played my best, I did what I could. I couldn’t win the set when I was 5-4, 40-15 against Rune. I guess if you go out there, you can try to give your best, you cannot control results. I know we’re relegated to World Group-II, but if we continue to play well I think that will change very fast.

Photo by Srividya Balayogi

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