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Leaving out the tennis aficionados, not many know who took over the mantle to represent India in the men’s tennis after Somdev Devvarman. It is none other than Sumit Nagal.
Nagal is the one who once scared Roger Federer by beating him in a set in the first round of 2019 US Open. Though, later he lost the match. And he, after Somdev in 2013, was the first Indian to qualify for the US Open in 2019.
However, the sad part is that Nagal the top-ranked tennis player in India, has less than Rs one lakh in his bank account and more depressing is that he is not living a happy life despite having arranged for a $1 crore maintenance budget that keeps him active on the ATP Tour.
He is training hard at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany for a few years, but the first three months of the 2023 season were spent away from his favourite facility due to financial constraints.
Before he was able to secure funding for his stay in Germany, his friends former tennis players Somdev Devvarman and Christopher Marcuis assisted him in staying in shape in January and February.
The lack of money is certainly the narrative of every tennis player in India, but the fact that the nation’s top singles player isn’t saving enough money for himself and his family only serves to highlight the ineffective system and the cruel Tour, where the players fight their battles alone.
The cost is associated with his stay at the Peine training facility and his travel to competitions with either his coach or a physiotherapist.
Nagal still have the same amount that he had at the start of the year. “It costs 900 Euros, or around 80,000. I received some assistance. I receive monthly (wage) payments from IOCL and assistance from Mr. Prashant Sutar with the MAHA Tennis Foundation, but I don’t have a significant sponsor,” he said.
Nagal’s racquet, shoes and apparel needs are being taken care of by Yonex and ASICS respectively.
This year in 24 tournaments played, Nagal has earned about 65 lakh with his biggest pay cheque coming from the US Open where he lost the first round of the Qualifiers and still pocketed USD 22,000 (approx ₹18 lakh).
Yonex, ASICS, and other companies are taking care of Nagal’s demands for racquets, footwear, and clothing, respectively. Nagal has made over 65 lakh this year from playing in 24 tournaments, with his biggest paycheck coming from the US Open, where he lost in the first round of the Qualifiers but still received USD 22,000 (about 18 lakh).