Sumit Nagal, India's only singles participant in the tennis event of the Tokyo Olympics 2020, has been handed a fairly difficult draw.
Nagal, who is making his debut at the Games, has had a mediocre 2021 season so far; the Indian has won 18 matches against 17 losses. It should also be noted that Nagal is currently dealing with an small injury, which could have implications if he goes deep in the draw.
On that note, let's take a look at Sumit Nagal's potential opponents at the Tokyo Games this year.
Sumit Nagal's 1st round opponent - Denis Istomin
Sumit Nagal will begin his campaign with an all-Asian clash against Denis Istomin, who is ranked 197th in the world. Although Istomin has had great results in the past, achieving a career-high ranking of No. 33 in 2017, the Uzbek has struggled to put together consistent results over the last couple of years.
That said, Nagal will have to be wary of Istomin's big-match playing experience if he wants to become the first Indian player to win a singles match at the Olympics since Leander Paes in 1996.
Sumit Nagal's likely 2nd round opponent - Daniil Medvedev / Alexander Bublik
Sumit Nagal could very well end up flying back to India after his second-round outing, which will likely be against Daniil Medvedev. Like Nagal, Medvedev will also be making his debut at the Tokyo Olympics 2021; the Russian will open his campaign against Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik.
In normal circumstances, Nagal would be expected to tamely go down to Medvedev. But national pride has inspired players to pull off sensational upsets at the Olympics in the past, and Nagal will be hoping to do exactly that in Tokyo.
Checkout: Tokyo Olympics Medal Tally
Sumit Nagal's projected 3rd round opponent - Fabio Fognini / Gilles Simon
If Sumit Nagal survives his second-round match against Medvedev (or Bublik), he could face 15th-seeded Fabio Fognini or France's Gilles Simon in the third round.
While both Fognini and Simon have struggled for consistency in 2021, they've had distinguished careers on the ATP tour. Having said that, Nagal is much younger than the two, and could possibly outlast them if their prospective match goes to three sets.
Sumit Nagal's projected quarterfinal opponent - Pablo Carreno Busta / Felix Auger-Aliassime / Andy Murray
On the off-chance that Sumit Nagal gets past the third round at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, he could face one of Pablo Carreno Busta, Felix Auger-Aliassime or two-time gold medalist Andy Murray for a place in the semifinals.
Nagal has never faced any of those players, since he mostly competes on the ATP Challenger tour. But if he makes it this far, it would be a monumental achievement for Indian tennis.
Sumit Nagal's projected semifinal opponent - Stefanos Tsitsipas
If Sumit Nagal manages to miraculously navigate the bottom-most quarter of the draw, he could set up a meeting with third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinal.
This match-up, if it happens, would be interesting to see. Nagal could possibly trap Tsitsipas in his backhand corner with his effective forehand, which happens to be the Indian's USP.
That said, the Greek possesses a devastating forehand himself, and he could well control the tempo of the match with that wing alone.
Sumit Nagal's projected final opponent - Novak Djokovic
The less said here, the better. Novak Djokovic is the overwhelming favorite for the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, and clearly the best player in the world. If at all Sumit Nagal manages to get all the way to the final and meet Djokovic, just taking a few games - rather than sets - would be considered a moral victory.
Check Out: Tokyo Olympics 2021 Schedule