‘The Fed­erer match taught me how to con­trol my nerves’

Post the high of stretch­ing Roger Fed­erer in the US Open and a tweet from Vi­rat Kohli, In­dian ten­nis player Su­mit Na­gal is back to chas­ing his goal — to crack the top 100

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Sunday Special - Maleeva.re­[email protected]­group.com

Ad ay af­ter hi s match against Roger Fed­erer, 22-year- old Su­mit Na­gal spoke from his ho­tel room in New York. Liv­ing out of his suit­case has become a way of life for the young In­dian, who prac­tices in Ger­many at the Nensel Academy. As he spoke on the phone, his bags were packed and he was set to leave the city he loves for a Chal­lenger tour­na­ment in Italy.

Shar­ing what was go­ing on in his mind af­ter his first set win, Na­gal said, “Yeah, I thought for a bit that I could win the match. I thought it could be a five-set match and any­thing can hap­pen. When I sit back and look, there were times here and there where I stepped away from

the tac­ti­cal plan. I think we all learn from mis­takes. I hope I do too.”

Af­ter the big­gest match of his ca­reer, the Delhi lad chose to just go away to his corner. “I did not want to speak. My trainer, my coach, the team who were sup­port­ing me came. But other than that, I went for a shower, got a mas­sage, did my usual things and got back home to my room,” Na­gal said.

A t weet f rom I ndian cricket cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli, whose foun­da­tion sup­ports Na­gal, boosted his con­fi­dence.

“I have not spo­ken to him [Kohli] much,” Na­gal said. “When I was se­lected for the schol­ar­ship by his foun­da­tion, he said, ‘Con­grats’ and I said, ‘Thank you’. I do my thing and he does his thing. The tweet about him be­ing on my side in­stead of Fed­erer’s was mo­ti­vat­ing for me. Many peo­ple asked me about it and it was a great

Copy­cat tips: ges­ture for which I am very thankful,” Na­gal said, know­ing Kohli is a fan of Fed­erer.

Prepa­ra­tions to play the win­ner of 20 Ma­jors in the huge Arthur Ashe Sta­dium were the usual for the World No 190. “I knew that I was play­ing Fed­erer and all. But you still do your rou­tine. I did not do any­thing dif­fer­ent, noth­ing. I did my warm ups, ev­ery­thing sim­i­lar, the usual,” said Na­gal, whose im­me­di­ate goal is to crack the top 100.

Mak­ing t he first round of the US Open main draw pays play­ers $ 58,000. Na­gal says it will be spent quickly, given the costs in­volved in a ten­nis player’s life. “It is not like it is a mil­lion. It is $ 58,000, which all goes back,” he says. “A week here [New York)] costs you at least $ 3,000 to $ 5,000. I have been here for eight to 10 weeks. It goes away fast, per­son­ally.”

Na­gal added, “The US Open has been a spe­cial Grand Slam for me. This was the f i rst ju­nior Slam I qual­i­fied for. I have a lot of friends here. What I learnt from the Fed­erer match? I’d say it is how to con­trol your nerves, t hink and play each point rather t han t he whole set. I learnt how to put pres­sure, use some tac­ti­cal play.”

“The Chinese don’t have a word for ‘calo­ries’,” says Chinese food expert Lor­raine Clis­sold.

They view food as nour­ish­ment, eat three meals a day and stop eat­ing when they feel sat­is­fied. Chinese medicine also pre­scribes foods as med­i­cal treat­ments. Copy­cat tips: Eat more soup — a soup-based dish is present at every Chinese meal, and miso soup, for in­stance, con­tains fill­ing nu­tri­ents. “Think of veg­eta­bles as meals in their own right, rather than an unin­spir­ing ac­com­pa­ni­ment,” says Clis­sold. Fi­nally, swap your usual cup for green tea. Green tea elim­i­nates tox­ins, aids di­ges­tion and al­lays hunger.

Su­mit Na­gal

quit­ting drink and cig­a­rettes, say psy­chol­o­gists in the jour­nal PLOS Medicine. Have leisurely, seated meal­times. Turn your phone off and en­joy the com­pany of friends and fam­ily. Take a stroll, or a ‘passeg­giata’, af­ter din­ner. “Ul­ti­mately, it’s all about cher­ish­ing the sim­ple things in life that truly bring peace,” Anushka Sharma wrote in a tweet

“Con­grat­u­la­tions to @na­gal­sumit for qual­i­fy­ing for the #USOpen,” Vi­rat Kohli had tweeted

Su­mit Na­gal had a dream Grand Slam de­but on Au­gust 27, as he played against Roger Fed­erer

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