Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal is now eligible to compete in the men’s singles event at the Tokyo Olympics, the world governing body ITF has communicated to the AITA, a source in the national tennis body said on Friday.
Nagal was ranked 144 on June 14, when ATP rankings were to be considered for direct entries. Another specialist singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran missed the Tokyo flight by a whisker as his ATP ranking on cut-off date was 148.
Interestingly, the deadline for accepting tennis entries is closing in a few hours from now.
The stringent protocols under which the Games are being held and the fear of contracting coronavirus has forced many withdrawals that kept lowering the cut-off mark.
“We have received a mail from the ITF that Sumit is now eligible. They have asked for his details. We have started the process of getting him in,” an AITA official told PTI.
Yuki Bhambri, with his Protected Ranking of 127, also made the cut but since he recently underwent a procedure on his right knee in the US, he has made himself unavailable.
“I won’t be playing,” Bhambri told PTI in a terse message.
If Nagal can make it to Tokyo by completing all the required formalities, it remains to be seen if he makes the doubles draw with Rohan Bopanna, who could not enter with Divij Sharan till now.
Bopanna and Sharan’s combined rank is 113 and they were still fifth alternate recently.
ITF is giving priority to the singles players to fill the doubles draw.
Nagal’s entry would also mean that India can now have a team in the mixed doubles draw as well.
As of now only Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina are certain to compete in the women’s doubles draw. Sania used her protected rank of nine to enter with Ankita.
All top-10 players get direct entry and have the privilege to choose a partner of their choice, who is ranked inside top-300.