Have added new dimensions to my game, says Sumit Nagal | Tennis News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Sumit Nagal is itching for matches. Just as well. The India No. 1 has made the US Open’s direct entry list. Before he gets to New York for the Grand Slam starting on August 31, the 22-year-old will play an ATP Challenger on outdoor clay in Prague from August 17 to 23.
Ranked 127th, Nagal has stayed locked at his training base in Peine, Germany, since early March, outside of playing in open or club-level tournaments. One of them was a month ago in Pinneberg, where he beat German pro Daniel Masur in the final; he made the semifinals of another in Basel.
Nagal leaves next Thursday for Prague, from where he’ll head to New York to play the second major main draw of his career.
“I’m excited,” Nagal said. “I have only made one Slam main draw so far. I know the situation is not the same, but I’m going to do the right things which are in my hand.”
Nagal, who bowed to Roger Federer in the first-round last year, isn’t a fan of faster hardcourts, though he loves the vibe of New York City. The Indian, who featured in the qualifying draw of the Australian Open in January, promised to play freely before returning to Europe and his beloved clay.
Nagal, who has worked on his German these last months, has also primed his stubborn play. “I’ve tried to add stuff to my game, new dimensions. I’ve worked on my serve,” he said. “My fitness work has been regular, the things that I normally do, speed, strength, endurance. I’ve also been doing yoga.”
Prajnesh Gunneswaran, the India No. 2 and at 132 on the ATP rankings, is presently five places out of the direct entry list for the US Open. The left-hander, however, will take a chance and go to New York.
It is unlikely that the tournament, which has done away with the qualifiers this year, will call for alternates in the midst of a pandemic to fill late openings in the field.
The 30-year-old, who was at a career-best No. 75 last April before being laid low by a series of injuries, has been training this last month. The Chennai-based pro returned to the practice courts for about 10 days in June before the second lockdown.
“I’ve used the time in July to sort out injury worries. I couldn’t do treatment, especially for the elbow earlier, because of the lockdown. All that has been sorted out now and I’m close to serving at my best,” the 6’2’’ Gunneswaran said. “I’m looking forward to playing again and playing my usual game. It’s been a while.”
Gunneswaran is likely to travel to the US in late August, after which he’ll head to Europe for the French Open qualifiers. “I’m in no rush to play the Challengers,” he said, pointing at Covid-19. “I want to get into the big tournaments, play the qualifiers of Tour events. I could also do with some practice on clay.”

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