The 23-year-old is a household name in the Indian tennis community. But when casual fans see his last name in draw sheets, they often do a double look because of its similarity to Rafael Nadal's name.
This week, Nagal has taken several steps to ensure that fans across the world become more familiar with his own name. The Indian scored the first top 25 win of his career on Wednesday, knocking out No. 2 seed Cristian Garin in straight sets at the Argentina Open.
Ranked No. 150, Nagal came through the qualifying draw to reach his first ATP tour level quarterfinal in Buenos Aires. And in an interview with Argentinean website Ole, Nagal spoke about the comparisons to Rafael Nadal and how they amuse him.
"They can't compare me to Rafael Nadal," Sumit Nagal said. "He is a phenomenon on and off the court. Those who compare me (to him) amuse me because it doesn't make any sense."
(Quotes have been translated using Google Translate)
Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer are my top two idols: Sumit Nagal
Although Sumit Nagal may be amused by the comparisons, Rafael Nadal is actually one of his idols. The 23-year-old revealed that the 13-time French Open champion and former World No. 3 David Ferrer are his biggest role models when it comes to tennis.
"I love watching Rafael Nadal play," Nagal said. "He is one of the players that I see play the most, but I also loved to appreciate every movement of David Ferrer - how he moved, his shots, his mentality, how hungry he was, his competitive instinct. Everything. They are my top two idols."
Clay has historically not been suited to Indian players, but Nagal has repeatedly proclaimed that it is his favorite surface. The Indian has been based in Europe for the past few years now, and has developed a strong affinity to red dirt.
"Seven years ago, I went one summer (to Germany) to play Inter-clubs and since then, I have become fond of the surface. It is my favorite surface," Nagal said.
The Indian will be hoping that love affair with clay continues on Friday when he takes on World No. 46 Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the Argentina Open quarterfinals.