Sumit Nadal has opened up on the experience of playing Roger Federer in the first round of the US Open.
The unknown Indian quantity, who could be mistaken for 19-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal if you take a quick glance at his name, had to come through qualifying to enter the American Grand Slam.
And he was handed the daunting task of taking on Federer in his opening match.
But the world No 174 shot out of the blocks to take the first set before eventually falling to a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 defeat.
“I really wanted that. I was so happy,” Nagal told Reuters.
“I was getting a massage when my coach messaged saying I am playing Federer. That was the best thing that could’ve happened.
“I felt a bit nervous while I was walking in. First few minutes were tough, I had never been to a court like that, never seen so many people. But when I finished the match, I enjoyed it, I enjoyed being there.
“It was lot of fun to play on that court against Roger. I was happy but I wasn’t happy the way I played, I think I could have done better but overall I was satisfied.”
Federer went on to fall at the quarter-final stage while Nadal won the title.
It took the Spaniard’s Grand Slam tally up to 19, one behind Federer’s record.
“I like how [Nadal] plays, how much hunger he brings on the court and the way he fights,” Nagal said.
“He does not want to give you any points, you have to work for it.”
Nagal also explained how he struggled to afford breaking onto the ATP tour.
He added: “It’s been tough. I didn’t have a sponsor who would say ‘yes I am going to cover your whole year’s cost’.
“It was always someone giving us, funding us for a few thousand, here and there. I was trying to survive.
“Coming from India where you don’t earn so much and I was spending through euros or dollars all the time. It wasn’t easy. But I did survive those years.”