'What I learnt form him Roger Federer is...', says ATP ace

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'What I learnt form him Roger Federer is...', says ATP ace

The first two appearances on the main draw of a Grand Slam were not particularly lucky for Sumit Nagal. The Indian tennis player has in fact clashed with two phenomena of the caliber of Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem, taking away the satisfaction of snatching a set from the 20-time Grand Slam champion in the first round of the US Open 2019.

Interviewed by the media on the eve of his debut at the Australian Open next week, Nagal - the recipient of a wild card from the organizers - admitted he feared yet another challenge against one of the top ten players in the world.

The first Slam of the season will kick off on 8 February, a postponement made necessary by the two-week quarantine imposed on all players. The Top 3 were able to spend the two weeks of solitary confinement in Adelaide (where they also played an exhibition), while their colleagues stayed in Melbourne hotels without the possibility of enjoying too many comforts.

The draw for the main draw is set for Thursday 4th February.

Nagal on facing Roger Federer

"Lot of players play better when they are up against really really good players. It happens a lot in almost every sport," Sumit Nagal said.

"For me, it's what I learn from them. I love playing someone who's top 10 so I just get to learn things from them. The way they do things on the court. They way they have evolved their games." In a sport obsessed by ranking positions and match wins, Sumit Nagal is not putting too much pressure on himself when it comes to results.

Instead, he is hoping to improve on a regular basis, and let the results take care of themselves. "(I am hoping) Just to play a good match (at the Australian Open). You can't say I want to make the quarterfinals without even looking at the draw," the Indian responded when asked of his expectations at the Australian Open.

"I just wanna play and get better. I'm not looking through rounds. I just want to be there, enjoy, and try to play my best tennis possible." Sumit Nagal, who is accompanied only by his coach for the long trip to Melbourne, went on to talk about what he learned while competing against champions of the sport such as Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem.

"What I learnt form him (Roger Federer) is how he understands himself and how he reads the game," Nagal said. "He'll never make the same mistake twice. He's that good." He also talked about Thiem: "I would like to play the way he (Dominic Thiem) plays," Nagal said.

"He's got a really sold backhand. He's serving very smart, and good forehand, and he's moving (great) and his intensity is very very high. That's what I would love to have in my game. That is what I am trying to work on."