Sumit Nagal rues Wimbledon first-round loss, says he lost momentum

Nagal lost 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 to Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia

Published - July 03, 2024 02:26 pm IST

Sumit Nagal of India plays a forehand return to Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia during their first round match of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Monday, July 1, 2024.

Sumit Nagal of India plays a forehand return to Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia during their first round match of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Monday, July 1, 2024. | Photo Credit: AP

Indian tennis ace Sumit Nagal feels he had the momentum in the third set of the Wimbledon first-round tie against higher-ranked Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia but his relative inexperience on grass cost him the match.

The 26-year-old Indian, who is set to participate in his second Olympics in less than a month, lost the Wimbledon men's singles opener to Kecmanovic, ranked 19 places higher than him, in a marathon four-setter lasting nearly three-and-a-half hours.

Nagal lost 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6.

The 71st-ranked from Jhajjar, making it to the Wimbledon main draw for the first time, won the second set to come on even terms but the Serbian, ranked 52nd, won the next two to advance.

"This is my first main draw at Wimbledon, and playing on the grass surface is not easy; you need a bit of experience. But I think I did whatever I could, I fought hard. I felt like I could have served better, and there were a few things here and there in the match I could have done better," Nagal told Star Sports.

"Later on in the third set, the momentum was kind of shifting towards me. I think, like I said, if I could have broken him at 5-3, him serving, I think the match could have changed in a funny way." He said the SW19 experience was the one to cherish.

"It was a great experience. Obviously, when you play for three, three-and-a-half hours, you always feel like, 'this could have been done or that could have been done.' But like I said, if I could have changed things in the third set, I would have really liked that (broken the opponent at 5-3).

Nagal said his aim is to keep climbing up the rankings ladder and he is looking forward to a good show at the Paris Olympics, where he will have to shift to clay courts.

"I keep on climbing the rankings. There are a few goals that I need to finish, and that will be one of them — to keep on climbing the rankings.

"Now, I'm going back on clay to get ready for Paris. I'm looking forward to it; it's going to be my second Olympics, and I'm super, super excited for it." Nagal, who was ranked 160th during the Tokyo Olympics, had lost in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev in the second round.

Tennis legend Mahesh Bhupathi also indicated that Nagal should have converted half chances.

"Everyone's disappointed, but he's had a breakthrough year, he's played high-quality tennis. That guy's a good player and he had his chances there in the third set and that's the way it is. In events like this, you've got to take your chances, otherwise, you're going to come out on the losing end." Former Davis Cupper Zeeshan Ali said Nagal should not get disappointed as he gave his opponent a tough time.

"I feel that Sumit should not be very disheartened by this loss because he played a very good match. He played an incredibly good second set and he had a lot of chances.

"Going forward, I think he definitely needs to prepare better to play in a tournament like Wimbledon, maybe get a couple of matches in before the main draw of Wimbledon starts, and that would definitely help him prepare better," said Ali.

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