All eight participants in the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM were champions in some ATP Challenger Tour 2023 tournament, with Hamad Medjedovic being the leader in this statistic with three titles. ATPTour.com looks back at some of the key moments for each of these players on the ATP Challenger Tour.
The Frenchman started the season in the best way possible, winning nine of his first ten matches, including a title in his first week at the Oeiras Challenger. Fils, 19, has quickly risen through the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and is currently world No. 36. This year he debuted his record in Lyon, in addition to compiling a match record of 11-4 in Challengers this year.
Fils entered the exclusive list of French Challengers champions aged 18 or under, alongside Richard Gasquet, Sebastien Grosjean, Gael Monfils, Fabrice Santoro, Corentin Moutet and Luca Van Assche.
Luca Van Assche
An unforgettable moment for Van Assche came at the Challenger in Pau in March, when he saved two Championship points against compatriot Ugo Humbert to win the longest Challenger final in history at three hours and 56 minutes. In his next tournament, just a few weeks later, Van Assche returned to winning ways by winning the third ATP Challenger crown in San Remo, where he ensured his breakthrough into the Top 100.
The Swiss left-hander won the Rovereto and Prague Challengers in the first half of the year and enters the season-ending tournament in Jeddah with a 19-12 Challenger match record. In September, the 21-year-old Swiss made his Top 100 debut after reaching the fourth round at the US Open, where he upset No. 7 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a five-set second-round match. Stricker is the only Swiss to have won five Challenger titles before turning 21.
The 19-year-old American began the year at No. 600 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, but has risen through the ranks to become the youngest player in the Top 100. Michelsen won his first ATP Challenger Tour title in Chicago in July, a week before of being a finalist in the ATP 250 in Newport. Michelsen enters the Next Gen ATP Finals having won nine of his last 10 matches, including the title in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The Italian is one of seven players to have won at least 40 Challenger matches this season. Cobolli, who broke into the Top 100 in October, won his second career ATP Challenger Tour title in Lisbon and reached the final in Olbia two weeks later. At 21 years old he is one of four #NextGenATP Italians to win a title this year, along with Luca Nardi, Matteo Gigante and Luciano Darderi.
At 20 years old, he is the youngest player to win three ATP Challenger Tour titles this season, with his triumphs in Szekesfehervar, Mauthausen and Mallorca. The Serbian, who surpassed the previous one at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, was a semi-finalist at the ATP 250 in Gstaad and Astana. Coached by former world No. 12 Viktor Troicki, he has posted a 23-12 record in Challengers.
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At a career-high No. 115, Nardi has added two Challenger titles this season. The Italian won the Porto Challenger in August on the same day he turned 20. Nardi claimed his fourth Challenger title earlier this month, when he won in Matsuyama, Japan.
The Jordanian made history on the ATP Challenger Tour in October when he won in Charleston, South Carolina, to become the youngest player from an Arab country to win a title in this category. At 20 years old, the player graduated from the Rafa Nadal Academy in 2021 and was also a finalist in the Manama Challenger in February. Shelbayh enters the Next Gen ATP Finals at a career-high No. 185.