India’s top ranked men’s singles tennis player Sumit Nagal will be forced to go through the 2024 Australian Open qualification rounds after the All India Tennis Association, reportedly, refused to send his nomination for a wild card entry.

The Indian tennis body did not send Nagal’s nomination as the player had declined from competing in India’s Davis Cup tie against Pakistan in February.

“One cannot expect to pull out of a Davis Cup assignment for the country and then expect something in return from the federation,” Anil Dhupar, general secretary of the Indian federation, or the AITA, told The Hindustan Times.

“Why should we send anything from our end to nominate him? AITA had to take a stand against such things at some point.”

Before the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, the Australian Open organised a tournament for players from the Asia-Pacific, where the winner would win a wild card into the main draw. However, the event had been cancelled since the pandemic struck.

For players to get wild card entries into Grand Slams, they must rely on their respective federations to send forward their nomination to the host organisation – in this case, Tennis Australia – for them to be considered.

Nagal had a good comeback season in 2023 from the hip surgery he underwent last year. He started off the calendar year ranked 503 and has now risen to 138 in the singles charts – winning two ATP Challenger titles along the way.

Also read:Indian tennis: Sumit Nagal – ‘One side of brain was saying slide, other side was saying I’m scared’

The 26-year-old from Jhajjar, Haryana, was the last Indian player to feature in the singles main draw of a Grand Slam, when he was awarded a wild card to the Australian Open in 2021.

He is also the last Indian to win a main draw match in singles at a Major, when he beat Bradley Klahn at the 2020 US Open.

Nagal was expected to spearhead the Indian Davis Cup team for their upcoming World Group 1 Playoff tie against Pakistan in the Davis Cup, scheduled to take place in Islamabad on February 3 and 4.

However, he, along with former India No 1 Mukund Sasikumar declined from competing for the national team.

“My opting out for Davis Cup was majorly because of it being played on grass,” he said. Pakistan, the hosts of the tie, have decided to organise the match-up on the grass court of the Pakistan Sports Complex.

“It is really sad to see this decision coming after looking at my performance in Lucknow [for India’s previous Davis Cup tie, against Morocco] and securing the win for the country. I have missed Wimbledon [a grass court Grand Slam] for the same reasons as well in the past.”

Nagal is the last Indian player to have won a junior Grand Slam, when he coincidentally won the men’s doubles title at Wimbledon in 2015.