Earlier this year, millions of Indians were awake early in the morning to witness something unusual. A 22-year-old boy from Haryana was going to face Roger Federer at the US Open.
Sacrificing sleep that day, paid off when he won the first set against the God of tennis. In the process, he became first Indian and the 4th player in the history of sport to achieve the feat.
Federer came back and won the next three sets but only had words of appreciation for his young rival. "He's going to have a very solid career," he said.
Now, I think we can all safely agree that Federer knows a thing or two about tennis. His prediction has turned out to be absolutely true as far as Nagal's run after the US Open is concerned.
Recently, he defeated Argentina's Facundo Bagnis to become the first Asian to win the ATP Challenger Tournament in Buenos Aires. This also got him his career best ranking of 135 after an improvement of 26 places.
Just one month ago, @nagalsumit battled Roger Federer under the lights at the US Open.— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) September 29, 2019
Since then, the 🇮🇳 has gone 9-2 with a final in Banja Luka and title in Buenos Aires. Career-high in the Top 150 incoming.
This victory also made him the first Indian to win on a Challenger tour this year and the only player from the country to register a victory on South American clay.
When you consider the fact that he was ranked 350 in April, you realise what these accomplishments mean.
I know this is not much compared to achievements of other international players but we have to keep in mind that tennis isn't India's favourite sport and our infrastructure isn't necessarily the best in the world.
ATP TITLE ALERT ⚠— India_OlympicSports (@India_Olym2020) September 29, 2019
Sumit Nagal becomes the First Indian to win an ATP CHALLENGER title in 2019
He beats local favorite Facundo Bagnis of 🇦🇷
6-4,6-2 in 70 minutes at #BuenosAires2019 Final
This is @nagalsumit ✌️ ATP Challenger title in the career.
Congratulations 🎊 🎊 pic.twitter.com/PGt8uiw2uW
Not prajnesh gunneswaran, Not Ramkumar ramanathan, Not Yuki Bhambri, Sumit nagal wins 1st #ATP Challenger tittle for India on 2019 season. Sumit nagal scored straight set victory over Facundo Bagnis 6-4,6-2 in the final to win tittle at Buenos Aires #ATP Challenger. pic.twitter.com/NOuOyZm4ol— Sports Desk (@tanmoy_sports) September 29, 2019