Sumit Nagal: “You Need To Make The Semis, Otherwise You Are In Loss!”

Sumit Nagal (photo: Florian Heer)

MASPALOMAS, November 29, 2023

India’s top tennis player, Sumit Nagal, has come to Gran Canaria for the final week of the 2023 season competing in the EÓ Hotels Maspalomas Challenger. The World No. 140 is the second seed of the €73,000 clay-court event on the Canary Island.

After his first-round win over Spaniard Alejandro Moro Canas on Tuesday, we met Nagal for an interview to speak about his season, the financial situation for players below the ATP Tour and his announcement not to travel to Pakistan for India’s upcoming Davis Cup tie against their neighbours.

Tennis TourTalk: Congratulations. Good start into the tournament. What made the difference in this match today?

Sumit Nagal: I lost to him last week in Valencia but today I found my game. Today was a difference match. I was more aggressive and I am really happy with my intensity of the game.

What about the conditions here? Is it your first time in Gran Canaria?

Conditions here are pretty similar compared to last week in Valencia. I like the balls here better. It’s my first time in Gran Canaria and it’s very nice here. I went to the dunes yesterday and it was really nice. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen more of the island yet but it’s tough to spend some time off the court during a tournament.

It’s the last week of the season. What were your highlights of 2023?

For me it’s to see from where I started the year and where I will finish it. I made quite a jump. I started outside the Top 500, being able to finish within 144 is really nice. I won two Challengers, reached two more finals and two semis. You always look back and say that I could have done better and those are the things to improve but if someone told me that I will start 2024 ranked inside the Top 150, I would have probably taken it. So, there is not much to complain. Just staying healthy and keep improving. Those will be the two biggest goals.

You had to go through some difficult times struggling with injuries. Are you physically fit right now?

The past few months were good. Hoping to stay like this.


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You made a couple of headlines when you criticized the prize money distribution on the tour. Do you see any improvements coming?

There are changes coming, but too slow. There are lot of talks going on. I can sit down with you and explain you all about the expenses. When you don’t make at least the semis of a Challenger, you are in loss every week. It’s not easy. It will also be ignored the case that we travel with a coach or team on our side, which is normal in other sports. Then you maybe pay 80.000 Euros per year. I have made about 100.000 Euros in prize money this season by winning two Challengers and reaching two semis. You have to make these results, otherwise the calculation doesn’t work out.

You also had problems to finance your practice base in Germany.

At the beginning of the year I was not part of the Nensel Academy because I had nothing to pay them. However, they were nice enough to say that I should try my best in these three months and they will behind me. They supported me a lot. I am happy to give them something back. If I crack the Top 100 and play big tournaments it benefits me and the academy.

What about your German skills?

My German is not good. (smiles)

Are you working on it?

So so …

We read that you are not planning to play the Davis Cup tie in February in Pakistan?

At the end of January I want to play on clay and will compete in the South American swing for a couple of weeks. From there it takes about three days to come towards India. The flights are very long and the connections are different. Then I have to play on grass and go back again. That’s just too much. You can not put eight days of travelling in 15 days. That’s horrible.

Thank you and all the best.

Interview: Florian Heer