Andy Murray’s three titles on the ATP Challenger Tour stand out as one of the greatest feats of the year on the circuit. But there was one of those achievements that stood out the most.
The Scot was one of four players to win at the new Challenger 175 level this year with his triumph at the Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole, his first title of any kind since winning the ATP 250 event in Antwerp in 2019.
“This last year or the last 18 months have been a little difficult for my game. But [mi equipo] “He has been there supporting me and working with me to try to improve,” Murray said during the trophy presentation.
Murray’s path to the title was not easy. In the first round, he defeated tour veteran and former world No. 6 Gael Monfils. Murray maintained a high level throughout the week, beating then-world No. 17 Tommy Paul in the final.
17 years, 8 months.
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) May 7, 2023
The results kept coming for the 36-year-old, who won the Lexus Surbiton Trophy in June to become the oldest grass-court champion in Challenger history (since 1978) and extended his winning streak to 10 matches by winning the Nottingham Challenger.
Frenchman Ugo Humbert also enjoyed a mid-season resurgence on the ATP Challenger Tour by claiming two consecutive titles at Challengers 175.
In Cagliari, Italy, the 25-year-old saved three match points against Taro Daniel in a marathon four-hour, 13-minute quarterfinal before taking his first clay court title. Humbert survived another long battle (over three hours) in the final against Laslo Djere.
“I will never forget this trophy because I normally hate clay, I have never won more than two matches in a row on clay,” Humbert said in his post-tournament press conference. “It feels amazing to have the trophy today… I don’t know what to think, I’m just super happy.”
Ugo Humbert, champion in Cagliari. Credit: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour
Humbert’s career did not end there. The southpaw captured the BNP Paribas Primrose in Bordeaux, where he defeated Tomás Martín Etcheverry in the final. Humbert played with conviction behind his serve all week and returned to the Top 40 of the Pepperstone Rankings for the first time since January 31, 2022. Humbert finished the season at a career-best 20th.
Portugal’s Nuno Borges was the first Challenger 175 champion when he lifted the Arizona Tennis Classic trophy in March.
After earning the best win of his career (by ranking) in the first round against world No. 38 Diego Schwartzman, Borges defeated Roman Safiullin, Alexei Popyrin, Jan-Lennard Struff and Alexander Shevchenko to cap a 10-win streak. at the Challenger level, and claim the most important title of his career.
“Somehow I found myself in the final and I finally made it,” Borges said at the time. “I feel like I’m still absorbing it, but it’s amazing. First Challenger 175 event, it is a very special place. It motivates me a lot for everything else.”
Nuno Borges, champion of the Arizona Tennis Classic. Credit: Mary Grace Grabill
Germany’s Dominik Koepfer overcame several challenges to win the Piemonte Open Intesa Sanpaolo in Turin, where rain forced the clay tournament to be moved to an indoor hard court for the semi-finals and final.
The 29-year-old played his first round match in Turin approximately 48 hours after playing in the Prague Challenger final. Without signs of fatigue, Koepfer captured his fourth Challenger crown.
“It wasn’t easy going from outdoor clay to fast indoor courts in just a few hours, but I’m proud of how I was able to adapt,” Koepfer said. “It was an incredible week, which gave me the most important title of my career.”
Dominik Koepfer, champion in Turin. Credit: Francesco Panunzio