Davis Cup 2019: Milestone men Sumit Nagal, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan reflect on straightforward Pakistan win

Tanuj Lakhina

It had been almost 300 days since International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced India would take on Pakistan in the Davis Cup Group 1 tie. During this period, simmering political concerns reached fever pitch first after Balakot airstrike and then after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. The tie itself had moved from Islamabad to Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan with personnel changes aplenty.

"I'd like to see all tennis players share their journey on tour on their social media at least. That way we can get more people interested in tennis because as an individual sport, if people can get involved in a player's story, their journey, you feel connected to that player. It is important that players get publicity for their social media. It is a future for marketing," he went on to explain.

For Jeevan it has been tricky few weeks where he's had to adapt to different levels of weather. The group trained in Delhi, in 30 degrees, for a few days before departing for the much-delayed Davis Cup contest. They then braved -12 degrees celsius in Nur-Sultan and made a direct trip to Kathmandu, Nepal for the South Asian Games. The doubles specialist considers it to be part of the job.

"That's part of the package. The stadium in Kazakhstan was very well insulated, it is an international stadium. It is very tough conditions when you're not on court but when you're on it, it was very well equipped and the Kazakhstan tennis federation took great care of the players. The conditions were great. AITA did a great job in getting us business class tickets to come to the South Asian Games for the players in Davis Cup team. We travelled comfortably, couple of days to recharge and the team won a gold medal," says the 31-year-old.

Weather factor has been equally difficult for Nagal who had played a large portion of the latter season in South America with serious humidity and long matches on clay courts. He then jetted down to Delhi with pollution concerns before moving on to Kazakhstan. "The weather has become a habit. It's not easy to go from extreme humidity of South America to Delhi. When I reached Delhi, my eyes were burning. The more time you spend, the easier it gets. I've been in and out of India for the past month so getting easier now."

For Jeevan, the next season gets underway in early January where he will partner with Sriram Balaji. They plan to get things going in Chennai before departing for ATP Challenger events in Thailand and progress from there to improve on rankings.

Nagal, however, would continue his journey in the singles department with limited funds at his disposal - a situation he describes as "not much has changed". He gets going in Canberra with a Challenger before progressing to the Australian Open.

Also See: Davis Cup: Strong India expected to steamroll depleted Pakistan in rescheduled tie in Kazakhstan

Davis Cup 2019: Indian tennis stars going extra mile to beat Nur-Sultan chill, says physio Yash Pandey ahead of Pakistan tie

Davis Cup 2019: Ramkumar Ramanathan, Sumit Nagal toy with teen rivals from Pakistan to give India 2-0 lead on opening day

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