Prior to Nagal, the last Indian to make the Top 100 was Prajnesh Gunneswaran in 2019.
When the latest ATP rankings are released on Monday, India’s number one player will break into the top 100 in the world. Sumit Nagal, who is rated 506 in the world, competed in the first qualifying round of the ATP Chennai Open Challenger on February 12, 2023.Nagal will be ranked 98th in the world after winning the ATP Chennai Open Challenger on February 12, 2024. And as the Indian wiped away tears after winning the final on Sunday, it was clear what the newest milestone in this incredible turnaround story meant for him, coming less than a month after qualifying for the 2024 Australian Open and defeating 27th seed Alexander Bublik in the first round.
After defeating Italy’s top seed Luca Nardi 6-1, 6-4 to win the championship in Chennai, Nagal will make his first-ever appearance in the top 100 of the ATP singles rankings. He will move up from 121 to 98 in the new rankings on Monday.
Since the introduction of the ATP rankings in 1973, only 10 Indian men have ever achieved the significant milestone of ranking in the top 100 in singles, a crucial position for any professional tennis player. With Prajnesh Gunneswaran as the only new entry in the last five years, the list has some of the best in the nation, including Vijay Amritraj, Ramesh Krishnan, Leander Paes, and Somdev Devvarman.
The 26-year-old Nagal was expected to do it after he won a Grand Slam main draw singles match at the 2020 US Open and reached his previous career high ranking of 122 in August 2020. Nagal is the first Indian male to do so in seven years. That same year, 2021, he underwent surgery due to a persistent hip issue. It severed his standings, rhythm, and confidence, piercing through his growth.