Sumit Nagal, who took a set off Roger Federer in the US Open first round last week and made everyone around the world sit up and take notice, has now spoken about how Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli's support in the initial phase of his career helped him a lot.
Nagal was speaking about the Virat Kohli Foundation and its Athlete Development Program which has been sponsoring his training expenses, tournaments, nutrition and other requirements for almost two years now.
Virat Kohli's foundation comes to the rescue
"Virat Kohli's foundation has been supporting me since 2017. I haven't been performing well for the last two years and was facing a financial crisis. If I didn't have Virat Kohli supporting me, I don't know what I would have done," Nagal was quoted as saying by Bombay Times.
Nagal recollected the day when he had only six dollars in his wallet and was extremely fortunate to receive the support of Virat Kohli when he was in desperate need to find.
"Early this year, when I was flying from Canada to Germany after a tournament, I had six dollars in my wallet… just six dollars after the help that I have been getting, so imagine what a mess I must have been before. But I survived, and things are getting better. If people fund athletes, it will only help the sport flourish in the country. I am fortunate to get that support from Virat," he added.
Having turned 22 last month, Nagal became the youngest Indian to qualify for a Grand Slam main draw in 25 years. His game impressed Roger Federer and the 20-year-old Grand Slam winner even predicted a solid fortune for the young man.
"I think he knows what he can bring. That's why I think he's going to have a very solid career. But, of course it's not the game that comes out with the biggest surprises. It's really consistent. I think he did it very well tonight," Federer said after the match.
The Swiss maestro had also said that Nagal's game was more suited for the clay as he spent the majority of his time honing his craft on that particular surface.
"I think his game is based on being really consistent, moving well, moving the ball around well. Sort of very much a clay-courter. That's also the surface he's basically played the entire year almost," Federer had said.