In the world of professional tennis, where success is celebrated on grand stages, there are unsung heroes who wage silent battles against financial odds, striving to make their mark. Sumit Nagal, India’s number one tennis player, is a warrior facing a daunting financial challenge on his journey through the demanding ATP Tour.
Sumit Nagal’s Determination Against All Odds
Despite being India’s top-ranked singles player, Sumit Nagal finds himself in a precarious financial situation. A budget of Rs one crore is meticulously allocated to sustain his ATP Tour aspirations, but the grim reality is that he currently has less than Rs one lakh in his bank account. The path to tennis glory is riddled with financial struggles for Nagal, highlighting the stark challenges faced by Indian tennis players.
Training in Germany with Limited Funds
Sumit Nagal has been honing his skills at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany for several years, but financial constraints have forced him to make tough choices. The lack of funds prevented him from training at his preferred location for the first three months of the 2023 season. His dire financial situation during this period required the support of friends like Somdev Devvarman and Christopher Marquis to help him stay in shape.
Investing All for the Dream
In a bid to stay competitive on the extravagant ATP Tour, Sumit Nagal has invested all his earnings, including prize money, his salary from IOCL, and support from the Maha Tennis Foundation. These funds are primarily utilized for his stay at the training centre in Peine and travel expenses for tournaments, often accompanied by either his coach or a physio.
Sunit Nagal’s Candid Revelation
When asked about his financial situation, Sumit Nagal openly shared the harsh reality: “If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros (approximately Rs 80,000). I did get a bit of help.” He acknowledged the support he receives from Mr. Prashant Sutar through the MAHA Tennis Foundation and a monthly salary from IOCL. However, the absence of a significant sponsor leaves Nagal grappling with financial constraints.
Sponsors for Equipment Needs
Fortunately, Sumit Nagal’s equipment needs, including racquets, shoes, and apparel, are sponsored by Yonex and ASICS. These sponsorships ease some financial burdens, allowing him to focus on his game.
Sumit Nagal’s journey in tennis has been marked by off-court battles, including hip surgery and multiple COVID-19 infections. The doubts about returning to competitive tennis began to creep in as he faced a long recovery and uncertainty. Despite his remarkable achievements, such as being the only Indian player to win a match at the Olympics (Tokyo), Sumit Nagal has a lack of financial support and recognition.
The Lone Fighter’s Appeal
As India’s top singles player, Sumit Nagal’s plea for support echoes the sentiments of many aspiring tennis talents in the country. He emphasized, “I am improving. I do feel I have the game. If my body is good and I am playing tournaments, I feel I am ready for a big leap.”
Sumit Nagal’s story sheds light on the need for systematic support and guidance to nurture the tennis stars of tomorrow. The financial challenges faced by Sumit Nagal and his peers underscore the journey of a lone warrior battling the odds to achieve greatness on the international tennis stage.