Sumit Nagal speaks out following removal from Davis Cup squad, AITA reprimand
The 19-year-old, who is mentored by Mahesh Bhupathi, won the Wimbledon boys' doubles in 2015.
Earlier this week, it emerged that rising Indian tennis star Sumit Nagal had been dropped from the country’s Davis Cup squad due to what the All India Tennis Association or AITA described as a ‘breach of discipline.’
According to AITA sources who spoke to various members of the media last week, Nagal allegedly arrived to practice sessions for the national tennis event with a ‘hangover’.
In a leak to the Press Trust of India, an AITA source alleged “..we got to know that he finished the mini-bar in his hotel room. He is a very talented guy but when you are only 19 years old and you are getting a chance to be in the Indian team and you miss practise sessions, it's not acceptable.”
Today, Nagal released a statement to Sportskeeda via his agent.
Sumit Nagal speaks out:
It is unfortunate that allegations questioning my demeanor while representing the country have presented themselves on public platforms in the last 24 hours. The Davis Cup in Chandigarh was my first appearance on the National team and I was proud to be considered for national duty and grateful for the honor it represents.
I shared my displeasure with the AITA and have clarified that that these allegations are false. Their response to my concerns were to confirm that they have not made these comments and have committed to taking adequate measures in getting to the bottom of this and assist me in clearing my name wherever it matters.
I have a long way to go in my career and I can promise is that I will never disrespect the flag or the country.
19-year-old Nagal, a protege of former World No. 1 Mahesh Bhupathi, shone at India’s Davis Cup tie against Spain last year; the teenager put up a solid contest against Grand Slam winnar Marc Lopez but lost in the end as he suffered from breathing issues during the match.
Sources also claimed that AITA officials were significantly irked by the fact that Nagal brought his girlfriend to his hotel room in New Delhi, where the Spain tie was being hosted, “without permission.”
"Well, he did not ask anyone before bringing his girlfriend to Delhi. When he arrived at the hotel, the girl was with him. Captain Anand Amritraj promptly asked him to send her back which he did," the source claimed.
But there is still hope for Nagal, given that the removal from the squad is not a permanent move, say officials "He has been set aside temporarily and definitely he has not lost his place permanently because he is a very good player and has good (sic) future.”
He can always come back. But if you are not behaving properly, if you are not having any discipline, you have to reform," he continued.
"He is young, he played a terrific match against Spain, he could have won his match. It was there in the air and we thought, we will give him a miss this time. But he is a great talent. Talent will always be there. It never gets lost."
Yesterday, former Indian No. 1 Somdev Devvarman spoke out in support of the young Nagal in a scathing letter to the AITA.