“India’s Top Tennis Star, Sumit Nagal, Left with Only ₹80,000 in Bank, Struggles to Make Ends Meet”

India's Top Tennis Star Sumit Nagal Faces Financial Struggles in Pursuit of ATP Dream

In the world of professional tennis, the glitz and glamour of grand stadiums, prestigious tournaments, and lucrative endorsements often overshadow the financial hardships faced by aspiring players. India’s top-ranked tennis player, Sumit Nagal, recently shared his own struggles with limited financial support as he continues to chase his dream of making a mark on the international ATP Tour.

Nagal, who hails from a humble background in Punjabi Bagh, Delhi, has been training at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany for several years. However, a lack of funds prevented him from training at his preferred location for the first three months of the 2023 season.

His predicament is not unique, as many Indian tennis players grapple with financial constraints, despite showing tremendous potential. While India boasts a population of over 1.4 billion, only a handful of tennis players manage to make it to the international stage.

To sustain himself and continue competing on the extravagant ATP Tour, Nagal has had to invest all his prize money, his salary from the Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), and the support he receives from the Maha Tennis Foundation. These funds cover his expenses, including his stay at the training center in Peine and travel for tournaments, often accompanied by his coach or a physiotherapist.

Nagal’s total earnings from 24 tournaments played this year amount to approximately ₹65 lakhs (around $87,000 USD). Despite his biggest paycheck coming from the US Open, where he lost in the first round of qualifiers, he pocketed approximately $22,000 USD (approximately ₹18 lakhs).

Speaking candidly about his financial situation, Nagal disclosed that he has been investing whatever he earns to sustain his tennis career. His yearly expenses, which include travel with a coach (without a physiotherapist), range from ₹80 lakhs to ₹1 crore. Unfortunately, Nagal does not have the backing of a major sponsor.

Reflecting on his journey, Nagal expressed his frustration with the lack of support despite being India’s top player for the past few years. He highlighted his achievements, such as being the only Indian player to qualify for Grand Slams and securing a victory at the Tokyo Olympics. However, he lamented that the Indian government had not included his name in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).

Nagal’s financial woes have been exacerbated by injuries and health challenges. He underwent hip surgery last year and contracted COVID-19 multiple times, leading to prolonged periods of inactivity. The road to recovery was long and arduous, but Nagal persevered.

Despite facing substantial obstacles, Nagal remains committed to his dream of excelling in international tennis. He continues to work with his coaches, Sasha Nansel and Milos, who have advised him to save money while in India before returning to Germany to further his training.

As the highest-ranked Indian player at 159 in the ATP singles chart, Nagal’s journey reflects not only the financial challenges faced by Indian tennis players but also the lack of a comprehensive support system. He believes that with better funding and guidance, Indian tennis players can compete at the highest level, just as nations like China have achieved remarkable success on the global stage.

Nagal remains optimistic about his future in tennis and hopes that with the right support and resources, he can make a significant leap in his career. His story serves as a reminder of the resilience and determination exhibited by athletes who pursue their dreams against all odds.

Sources By Agencies

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