Sumit Nagal recently created history by becoming the first Indian ever to win an ATP Challenger title on European clay. Sascha Nensel, with whom Nagal has been working for over 5 years now, says it was a crucial win for his pupil.
Nensel runs an academy in a small town called Peine in Germany, and his coaching staff includes one of India’s finest Somdev Devvarman, and fitness trainer Milos Galecic (who was also Devvarman’s fitness trainer back in the day), among others. In a chat, Nensel shares his thoughts on Nagal’s win, season so far, goals for the rest of the season, and more.
Q) Your thoughts on Sumit’s recent win in Rome
It was an important win as it took him again close to playing Grand Slams. For sure it’s also a big confidence boost after all those injuries.
Q) How would you assess his season so far?
So far we had to adjust a lot in practice because it always takes time to get back to where you were before all those injuries. So you build and build, you start with the first tournaments and you try to get better week by week. To really rate the whole season we need to wait until October/November and see if we could play a full schedule.
Q) He has had a lot of stop-starts in the last 2 years. How tough does it become for a coach to maintain consistency in things you are working on in such a situation?
It’s really tough but it’s always good when you work as a team. Milos (Galecic) and myself are working together for years now and if we commit to something, we are usually trying to get the job done. Also, Somdev Devvarman gives always a helping hand and supports Sumit. There are always rough times in the life of a tennis player. It’s just part of the job.
Q) What are the things Sumit needs to do well to get closer to the top 100 again and even crack it?
This is simple: Work hard, stay healthy and win matches!
Q) Who are some other players to look out for from your academy?
We have quite a few promising young national and international players. Hopefully you will get to know their names during the next years. That is one of our main goals as an academy to teach and develop juniors and get them ready for professional tennis.