EXCLUSIVE: “I get nothing!” ‘Frustrated’ Sumit Nagal cites Carlos Alcaraz’s example while revealing the dark and lonely side of tennis ahead of Asian Games

Sumit Nagal talks about his hardships and lack of support he gets despite being India's No.1 tennis player.


EXCLUSIVE: “I get nothing!” ‘Frustrated’ Sumit Nagal cites Carlos Alcaraz’s example while revealing the dark and lonely side of tennis ahead of Asian Games

Sumit Nagal (Image via Imago)

Miracles happen in Indian sport is an old adage. On Thursday, deserving tennis star Sumit Nagal got massive relief as he signed a sponsorship deal with Gatorade. As a well-known “sports drink,” the brand has tied up with Nagal for three years. Since the time the Covid pandemic struck in 2020, Sumit Nagal has been struggling.
In a chat with FirstSportz, Sumit spoke about his travails in Hangzhou on Thursday. That was just before news broke he had landed a deal with Gatorade.

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However, given the kind of expenses involved in tennis, he could do with a lot more support.

FS: You had a great Davis Cup and some solid results in Challengers?
Nagal: Yes, the Davis Cup is a great theatre for me. I enjoy playing in it and the Lucknow tie was good. Team spirit and bonding, all that makes it special.

FS: Does it work the same way in the Asian Games?
Nagal: Oh yes, the team atmosphere in the Asian Games is great. We have seasoned pro Rohan Bopanna with us and the girls are also in great shape. Here is hoping we can win a few medals and we get noticed. Tennis has done well in the Asian Games over the years.

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FS: You did well on clay in Europe and was that a bit surprising?
Nagal: Not really, I started my tennis on clay. I enjoy hard courts as well but the key is to be a solid player. That’s my effort.

Read further: EXCLUSIVE: Angry Jaspal Rana pulls the trigger before Asian Games

Sumit Nagal bags ‘much-needed’ Gatorade sponsorship

Sumit Nagal
Sumit Nagal (Via IMAGO)

FS: We all know about your struggle in terms of sponsorship and how the monthly bank balance hits a low. Your thoughts?
Nagal: It’s an old story, isn’t it, but a true one. Sponsorship in tennis is not easy. I have been hanging in bravely. I have been through injuries and surgery. The travel of 40 weeks in a year and being alone is not easy. I mean, in tennis, to be in the top 150 or 200 is not easy at all. It is a global sport and to get there is hardship.

FS: How do the big guys in the tennis circuit keep it going?
Nagal: Look at someone like Carlos Alcaraz, he has a team of five or six people with him. This is what a big player needs. Here, I cannot get even my coach and physio on board. Abroad, countries that host Grand Slams provide so much support to their players. In India, we get nothing, I get nothing. The struggle continues daily, weekly, monthly!

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FS: How does Gatorade coming in help you now?
Nagal: “I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court.”

FS: Do you think you will continue to fight the odds, since the struggle has been so hard for you?
Nagal: I am not the one to give up. I have always believed in fighting despite adversity. Tennis is a lonely sport and can be taxing mentally as well. I have to stay strong all ways. There are a lot of guys who say I am doing well, that’s a big plus, a big boost. Thanks.

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