Tennis
India’s no.1 singles player Sumit Nagal reveals bank balance, says ‘I have given up’

India’s no.1 singles player Sumit Nagal reveals bank balance, says ‘I have given up’

Sumit Nagal, who will participate at the Asian Games, is the best-ranked singles tennis player in India.

Top Indian singles tennis player Sumit Nagal is going through a financial crunch and has made his situation known to the public, recently. His woes have reached a level, where he has less than INR one lakh left in his bank account. The professional player has been training at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany for a few years, but even training there has become a hassle for him.

Needless to say, all his prize money is re-invested to be able to play on the ATP tour and has no savings of his own. “If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros (approx ₹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,” the Asian Games-bound player told PTI.

This year in 24 tournaments played, Nagal has earned about 65 lakh with his biggest pay cheque coming from the US Open where he lost the first round of the Qualifiers and still pocketed USD 22,000 (approx ₹18 lakh).

“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost when I travel with one coach is costing me around 80 lahks to 1 crore and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested.

Sumit Nagal is a former Wimbledon boy doubles champion.
Sumit Nagal is a former Wimbledon boy doubles champion.

End of the Road for Sumit Nagal?

“I feel like I am lacking support despite being India’s number-one player for the past few years. I am the only player to qualify for the Grand Slams, the only player to win a (tennis) match at the Olympics (Tokyo) in last few years, and still the government has not added my name to the TOPS.

“I felt when my ranking dropped after injury, no one wanted to help me, no one really believed that I could be back. That was disappointing because I feel whatever I do is not enough. It’s so hard to find financial support in India. To be honest I do not know what to do, I have given up.”

This leaves us all with the question if playing singles as a professional, is even viable for the Indians. The answer looks like a no for now. “I don’t have anything in savings. I am just breaking even. I can not say I live a very good life or where I say I don’t need to work. I did not earn anything in the last two years so I am happy that I am breaking even. At least I am not in minus where I have to leave the academy and travel on my own.”

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