The ATP Challenger Tour held no scarcity of historic moments this season. From crowning champions who went on to showcase their expertise on the season’s most prestigious occasions, to Argentina’s record-setting 23 titles, or Li Tu’s emotional victory in Seoul.
As the 2023 season approaches, ATPTour.com critiques 5 memorable moments from the ATP Challenger Tour this 12 months.
ATP Tour and Challenger Tour Champions
Six gamers, together with Borna Coric and Holger Rune, claimed titles on the Challenger Tour and at a Tour-level event.
Coric, who gained the Parma Challenger in June, upset three Top-10 gamers en path to successful the title in Cincinnati to develop into the primary participant since 1993 to win a Challenger and an ATP Masters 1000 title in the identical season. And then it was the Danish teen’s flip in Bercy.
Rune, 19, claimed the Sanremo Challenger in April earlier than rising to 3 Tour-level titles, together with the ATP Masters 1000 occasion in Paris.
Four different males had been additionally topped champions at each ranges: Yoshihito Nishioka, Marc-Andrea Huesler, Francisco Cerundolo, and Lorenzo Musetti.
Lorenzo Musetti is topped champion on the 2022 Forli-6 Challenger. Credit: Riccardo Lolli
Argentina’s Record-Setting 23 Titles
Heading into this season, the earlier document for many Challengers by a single nation in a season, 20, had been reached 4 occasions (France in 2005, Argentina in 2007, 2016, 2021). After tying the document for a 3rd time in 2021, Argentine gamers set their sights on making an attempt to face alone on the high of the Challenger Tour document books. After breaking the document in late October, Argentine gamers added two extra trophies and completed with 23 Challenger titles in 2022.
Pedro Cachin, 27, held a season-leading 4 Challenger titles (tied w/ Jack Draper) and was the one Argentine who captured greater than two titles this season. Cachin, World No. 57, gained titles in Madrid, Prague, Todi, and Santo Domingo.
“Most Challenger titles in a 12 months is unimaginable.” Cachin mentioned. “It’s superb to have such a chance for all of the gamers to be part of one thing particular like that. It shouldn’t be straightforward for our gamers to journey the world, going very removed from house, however to have this achievement makes all of it price it.
Pedro Cachin in motion on the Santo Domingo Challenger remaining. Credit: David A. Martinez
“Especially for the youthful guys, to see that Argentina has the flexibility and potential to win many titles. Hopefully this may improve the keenness of gamers from Argentina to play this nice sport. For us, it’s a privilege to be part of this nice second. The guys have labored arduous and their expertise is now displaying.”
Li Tu Dedicates Challenger Title To His Late Mother
The Australian’s journey to the ATP Challenger Tour has been a novel trek. In 2014, Tu was discovering success on the junior stage, however the-then 18-year-old determined to place his racquets away to pursue a school diploma and a training business, leading to a six-year hiatus from skilled tennis.
If it wasn’t for Tu’s shut buddy having a heart-to-heart dialog with him two years in the past, he could have by no means returned to skilled tennis and loved the success he’s discovered this 12 months.
After struggling the lack of his mom in September, Tu travelled to South Korea the day after her funeral. Little did he know what the Korean Challenger swing had in retailer for him.
Li Tu wins the 2022 Seoul Challenger. Credit: Do Won Kim
At the Seoul Challenger, which was Tu’s seventh Challenger look, the 26-year-old superior by means of qualifying en path to his maiden title. Tu devoted the victory to his mom, who would’ve celebrated her birthday the day after his title.
Shang Juncheng Rescues Ballkid
The Chinese teen and American Stefan Dostanic had been locked in a three-set battle in scorching temperatures within the American state of Kentucky when Shang observed a ballkid, Atharva Dang, in misery.
After asking Atharva if he was okay, Shang exclaimed, “He’s going to faint!” Immediately, Shang set his racquet down and assisted the overheated boy, lifting him into his arms and dashing him behind the umpire’s chair and out of the direct daylight. After setting him down within the shade, Shang gave a bottle of water to Atharva and positioned an ice-pack behind his head.
Shang Juncheng and ballkid Atharva Dang on the Lexington Challenger. Credit: Rena Behr
The day after that second of sportsmanship, Shang and the ballkid reunited for an image. While Dang competed in an area event that weekend, the Beijing native was topped champion on the Lexington Challenger. Shang turned the youngest participant to win a Challenger title since Carlos Alcaraz at Alicante in 2020 and the youngest Chinese champion in Challenger Tour historical past.
Shelbayh Secures History
At the Rafa Nadal Open by Sotheby’s, 18-year-old Abdullah Shelbayh turned the primary participant from Jordan to win a match in ATP Challenger Tour historical past.
“It’s surreal,” Shelbayh mentioned following his victory over top-seeded Dominic Stricker. “To do one thing on your nation is an enormous achievement. I come from a small nation the place tennis shouldn’t be an enormous sport and to try this, it means lots to me to be within the historical past of my nation. I truly by no means thought of that getting into the match, however it feels superb. I hope many gamers from Jordan present their expertise within the close to future and I can encourage them as a lot as doable.”
Abdullah Shelbayh celebrates his first Challenger Tour win. Credit: Alvaro Diaz/Rafa Nadal Academy
Although his first Challenger win got here removed from his Jordan house, it was solely becoming it got here on the Rafa Nadal Academy, the place Shelbayh has skilled since he was 14-years-old.
The Academy graduate was a semi-finalist on the Mallorca Challenger, the place he misplaced to Zizou Bergs.