Sumit Nagal needed a couple of years to find his best tennis on the Challenger Tour and get the opportunity to crack the top-200. Sumit completed that task in May and June 2019, reaching five semi-finals in seven events and finding himself in the top-200 for the first time after qualifying for the main draw at the ATP 500 event in Hamburg.
Taking some well-deserved rest, Sumit secured the first Major main draw appearance in New York and passed three qualifying rounds to set the US Open first-round clash against Roger Federer. Facing the 20-time Major champion on packed Arthur Ashe Stadium, Nagal showed skills and determination to challenge a great opponent, winning the opening set before Roger took charge to notch a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 triumph in two and a half hours.
Both players had 13 break chances, and the Swiss forged his win with seven breaks, controlling the pace in sets two and three and surviving a tough game at 5-4 in the fourth to cross the finish line first. Nagal showed excellent tennis in sets one and four, overcoming a slow start to take six of the last eight games in the opener and staying in touch with Roger in set number four after coming back from a 2-0 deficit.
The Indian squandered four breakpoints at 4-5 and missed the opportunity to prolong the encounter, put Federer under more pressure, and enjoy the Arthur Ashe Stadium atmosphere a little more.
Sumit Nagal faced Roger Federer at the 2019 US Open.
"There are moments where I know tennis holds a place in my heart, and the 2019 US Open was one of them.
Everything was coming back to me, day by day, from the past 12 years of my life. I could barely sleep before I played Federer. I started to think about my first tennis steps, all the travel, how early I used to wake up and all those times I lived alone.
I know I complain a lot, but I deal with it. I go back to my home in Delhi and have no friends there; that's just a small part. I work hard to make sure my parents' hard work isn't wasted, as they sacrificed so much.
I want to give back to them, for the time and money they put into me. Everyone's mind wonders about the possibilities; it's just a matter of how you change them from negative to positive," Sumit Nagal said.