18 time Grand Slam Champion and doubles tennis legend Leander Paes recently spoke about Indian starts Sumit Nagal and Prajnesh Gunneswaran and what the two need to do to step up their game. “I saw Sumit way back when he was training in Toronto and I was practicing with him.
One of Sumit’s best shots is one of my weaker shots–the backhand. And I kept on practicing with him, checking his backhand and learning from him: how he steps forward, how he keeps moving ahead, how he keeps himself down.
I could see how much talent the young boy had. After you win a junior doubles title (Nagal won 2015 Wimbledon boys’ doubles title), you’ve got to perform. And Sumit has kept on persevering. It’s not easy, especially with the amount of expense and hardships on the Tour”.
He further added, “I have massive respect for people who work hard, because I’ve been through it myself, sleeping in locker rooms and things like that. Another player who I have immense respect for is Ankita (Raina), who has kept going.
For me, she is one of the fittest athletes that we have in India across all sports. Now, we need our boys and girls to go out there and win”. On what the two (Nagal and Gunneswaran) need to do when it comes to raising their standards, Paes assessed, “Keep honing their weapons.
Prajnesh has got a big leftie serve, and he’s got to make it bigger. Fitness becomes huge. Sumit is not as tall as Prajnesh, so he has to work harder on his fitness. Sumit has to create more weapons and keep his body supremely fit.
The mindset is huge as well, for you are all alone out there. So, sublime fitness, mental toughness, peace, decision-making and leadership qualities are the prerequisites.