Having experienced the effects of having a fiery temper, Sumit Nagal has said that he has realised the downside of the same and is working hard to improve on it. Mahesh Bhupathi, however, added that that having a fiery personality is not a crime if it is being backed by right results.
India’s rising tennis player Sumit Nagpal has made every Indian proud after he bagged his maiden $100,000 ATP Challenger in Bengaluru after defeating Britain’s J. Clarke 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the finals. This enabled Nagal to achieve his then career best ranking of 223 allowing him to qualify for both the Australian Open Wildcard Playoff and also his first major ATP World Tour event ( Tata Open Maharashtra) in Pune.
The 20-year old’s hard work came short as he was defeated in straight sets by Ilya Ivashka (3-6, 3-6) in the round of 32 match in the Maharashtra Open. He is now placed at his career best ranking of 216. Earlier, he used to be seen either arguing with the chair umpire or getting upset at himself during matches.
“This year, it has got better. I am controlling my emotions, not letting it affect my games. I have got stronger, compared to last year. Mentally, I am much much better. Last year, I lost many matches where I gave up or got mad for few minutes where I did not realise that I have already lost 4-5 games,” Nagal said, assessing his 2017 season, reported PTI.
There have been multiple in the world of sports who have had a fiery nature and have still been able to dominate their respective sports. Be it Michael Jordan or Muhammad Ali, athletes who have worn their hearts on their sleeves have not only gone on to become fan favorites but have had a lot of success as well. In tennis as well, where before the likes of Pete Sampras and Roger Federer showcased a very humble approach on the court, Bjorn Borg had John McEnroe ruled the sports despite their fiery personalities.
"Every personality is different in sport. Sumit is definitely a feisty personality. I had talks with him. He is is a kid from Haryana. (Bjorn) Borg had a feisty personality, (John) McEnroe had a personality. We loved them because they were superstars,” Bhupathi said.
“Andy Murray has a personality, he is always screaming at his box. Roger Federer has a personality, so every player has a personality and Sumit has his. As long as he is moving up the rankings and doing what we want him to do, I don't think we can fault him."
Tennis has always been a sport that had an advantage for tall athletes but it’s not like players who are close to six feet cannot compete with their taller counterparts. Bhupathi, however, believes that Nagpal has a slight disadvantage due to his short stature.
“ Nagal, at 5 feet and 10 inches, is not among the tallest players, who can consistently produce big serves, a huge weapon in the modern game. Both Nagal and Bhupathi feel it won't be a disadvantage,” Bhupathi explained.
“If people are tall, they have more reach but on the other hand shorter people are quicker and being quick on the court is not a bad thing. I don't think me not being 6'2",
6'3" is going to be a problem.
"At the end of the day I can't change it. Instead of complaining about it, I am putting so much work on my fitness that it is not going to be a problem.
“It's definitely not an advantage but Diego Schwartzman (5'7") is 20 in the world. There is David Goffin (5'11"), we have got Olivier Rochus (5'6"), Kei Nishikori (5'10"). If you can run and use your legs as benefit, short height should not stop you from getting into top-50."
Nagal is shifting his training base from Germany to Valencia in Spain , where he will practice at David Ferrer’s academy and will try to improve his game hoping to be India’s first singles player to be ranked in top 50 in the future.