India’s Sumit Nagal received a masterclass from Roger Federer after a first-set stunner. No wonder he is on cloud nine following an impressive Grand Slam debut where he stretched the legend to four sets in the opening round of US Open.
Nagal won the first set 6-4 before Federer upped the ante, winning 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 against the 190th ranked Indian.
“It felt amazing, could not have asked for a better match up on my debut Slam and on one of the biggest tennis courts I guess,” the 22-year-old Nagal told PTI from New York on Tuesday.
While the capacity crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium were rooting for Federer, by the end of two and half hours, Nagal was seen enjoying a bit of fan following as he was asked for autographs and selfies while leaving the arena.
“The crowd was amazing. I enjoyed every moment out there,” said Nagal, who came through the qualifying rounds.
On a learning curve, a match against Federer is stuff that dreams are made of, and Nagal is taking away a lot of positives in defeat.
“I learnt a lot from him last night. How to carry yourself, how to control emotions , mixing it (strokes) up,” the youngster said.
Former World No. 1 Roger Federer meanwhile, heaped praise on Sumit Nagal, saying the 22-year-old Indian played really well in the first round contest.
“(It’s) never easy to come out and play your best. Even though it’s kind of what you live for, you dream about, playing on the big stage. So I think he did that very well,” Federer was quoted as saying by the official US Open website in the post-match on-court interview.
“I think his game is based on being really consistent,” added Federer.
The five-time US Open champion further said that Nagal is much of a clay-court player as he has played his majority of tennis on the red soil.
“He moves well, moves the ball around well. Sort of very much a clay-courter. That’s also the surface he’s played basically the entire year almost.
“I think he knows what he can bring. That’s why I think he’s going to have a very solid career. But, of course, it’s not the game that comes out with the biggest surprises. It’s really consistent. I think he did it very well tonight,” he added.
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