For the first time since Wimbledon 1998, India will have two players in the men's singles main draw at Majors, with the 22-year-old Sumit Nagal joining Prajnesh Gunneswaran among 128 title contenders. Sumit is yet to score an ATP win and would produce the first-class sensation if he brings it at the US Open, facing the 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the first round.
With no experience on the highest-tier of the competition, Nagal has won one Challenger title at home in Bangalore at the end of 2017 and his most notable results came on the Futures circuit where he claimed nine titles from ten finals.
The Indian had struggled to shift his game to the next level and make faster progress through the rankings, cracking the top-300 just around the 20th birthday in August 2017 and hoping for more of the same in the next season.
Instead of that, Sumit struggled to find the results in 2018, finishing it outside the top-350 and starting all over in the current year. A strong run at the Challenger level (five semi-finals) propelled Nagal into the top-200 for the first time in July and he will now have the opportunity to make a Grand Slam debut after beating Tatsuma Ito, Peter Polansky and Joao Menezes, setting the first-round clash with Roger Federer on the one and only Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.
"Everyone dream about playing at Grand Slams and it means a lot to me, I played well in the qualifying round to earn that chance. Every match meant something and I'm happy to go through after that roller-coaster in the final round.
I'm super happy to face Roger Federer, I don't even know what to say," Nagal said. "It will be a great opportunity to play Roger at Arthur Ashe stadium. It's probably the best thing that could have happened as I was hoping to play against him one day, he is God of tennis, so yeah, I am looking forward to it."