India’s top-ranked singles tennis player Sumit Nagal stunned World Number 27 Alexander Bublik of Kazakstan to move to the second round of the Australian Open 2024 on Tuesday.
It was a sensational victory for Nagal as he won 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) in a match that lasted two hours and 38 minutes. This was the first time since 1989 that an Indian tennis player beat a seeded opponent in a Grand Slam.
The last instance was back in 1989 when Ramesh Krishnan defeated Mats Wilander, the then world number one and defending champion at the Australian Open.
This victory was one of the biggest achievements in Nagal’s career and a significant step forward for a tennis player who was in the headlines for his struggles.
In an interview with PTI in 2023, Nagal spoke up about his financial difficulties, stating that he only had about Rs 80,000 in his account and that his yearly budget to be on the ATP Tour was about Rs 1 crore.
“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros (approx Rs 80,000). I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told PTI in an interview.