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.

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.

So, whatever Nagal is doing is great stuff and we are all proud of him for putting the tricolour up there with the flags of other nations. Onwards and upwards from here.