Indian tennis’ upcoming talent Sumit Nagal put up a performance of a lifetime against Roger Federer in his first round tie of the US Open on Monday.
The 22-year-old started the match brilliantly, winning the first set 6-4 and putting the 20-time Grand Slam champion on the back foot with some tenacious tennis.
The Swiss ace though showed his class as the match proceeded, claiming the following three sets to continue his journey at the last Grand Slam of the season. Federer now faces Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the next round of the competition.
Despite his loss, Nagal received a lot of praise and acclaim for his gritty performance.
“I think he knows what he can bring. That’s why I think he’s going to have a very solid career. I think he did very well tonight,” said Federer on his Indian opponent at the post-match press conference.
The nation reacts
It was not just Federer who had words of appreciation for the 22-year-old, as several eminent personalities also voiced their opinion on Nagal’s fighting performance against one of the very best of all time.
While most in the nation lauded Nagal’s performance, India’s only Olympic Games gold medalist for an individual event, Abhinav Bindra, took a slightly different angle on the tennis star’s accomplishment, giving a more grounded viewpoint.
Nagal himself was very realistic about his performance against the record Grand Slam winner; and when asked what areas he should be improving on in the press conference, was quoted as saying, “Everything. I am lacking in all departments and need to get better everywhere.”
The 22-year-old, who won a Wimbledon Junior Doubles title back in 2015, is currently ranked at a career-high 190th .
His match against Federer was his first in the main draw of a Grand Slam.
Now his target is to keep on returning to the big stage.