24-year-old Sumit Nagal was always going to be up against the tide when he took on Roger Federer. However, the Indian, who said he wanted to enjoy his time on the court, gave a great account of his solid temperament in the first round as he took the set 6-4. This did ignite hopes, but, well, Federer was back in his elements and pocketed the match 4-6, 1-6, 2-6, 4-6 in a four-set affair.
However, the 20-time Grand Slam champion was all praise for the young Indian and said that he believed Nagal had a bright solid future in store.
"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.
Federer looked rusty
Federer looked rusty in the first set and committed a number of unforced errors which only compounded his problems against the Indian.
Asked what he thought was the standout feature of Nagal, Federer said, "I guess maybe how he handled the moment. Never easy to come out and play your best. Even though it's kind of what you live for, you dream about, playing on the big stage. So I think he did that very well," he further elaborated.
The Tennis icon also believed that Nagal's game was more suited to clay court and just by the way he moved, it was apparently clear, he would enjoy himself more on clay surfaces.
"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," he observed.
The young man said before the match that he did not care about the occasion and that he would only enjoy himself playing against the best tennis player.
"I don't care what the commentators will be saying about me on TV. I'm going to be enjoying the crowd, playing the best tennis player ever," Nagal had said before his dream match.
Up next for Federer, who is seeking a record-extending 21st career Grand Slam title, will be Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur, who beat Frenchman Elliot Benchetrit earlier on Monday.