Former India No. 1 Yuki Bhambri believes India's current no. 1 singles player Sumit Nagal has a bright future ahead of him, after the 23 year old Indian reached the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career at the US Open in New York this fortnight.
Nagal became the first Indian to win a singles match at a Grand Slam event in seven years and was beaten by the No. 2 seed Dominic Thiem, of Austria, in the second round last week in straight sets. This was the second year in a row that Nagal had played in the main draw at the US Open.
He had qualified for the US Open last year and lost to Roger Federer in the opening round in four sets.
Yuki Bhambri believes India's No. 1 Sumit Nagal has a bright future
Speaking to the Olympic Channel, Bhambri says, "He (Sumit) has done well to win the first round at the US Open and I hope he builds on that momentum.
I don't know if he had a very good junior career but he is definitely moving in the right direction. He has a good team of coaches and staff working alongside him and with the right support, I believe he has a bright future."
Bhambri, a former World No. 1 and Grand Slam winner in the juniors, said having Indians feature in the Grand Slams are important for the sport in India. The 28 year old Bhambri played the main draw at the Australian Open in 2015 and 2016 and was a regular feature in the Grand Slams in 2018 - when he played the main draw of all the four majors.
India's Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan also competed in the men's doubles event at the US Open - Sharan and partner Nikola Ćaćić were beaten in the first round while Bopanna and partner Denis Shapovalov reached the quarter-finals of the event.
"It's important to have an Indian representing the country at the Grand Slam consistently. This year it is Sumit, last year it was Prajnesh Gunneswaran. The year before it was me and before me it was Somdev Devvarman.
Indians have the capability to do a lot better on the international stage, we just have to grab the opportunities that we get." A former World No. 83, Yuki Bhambri also said that he hopes to return to the circuit from the Australian Open in January.
His last professional appearance on the tour was at the ATP European Open at the end of the 2018 season and he has been recovering from a serious knee injury since then.