After 11 months of weekly ATP Challenger Tour tournaments, a bow was placed on the season which held historic moments.
Whether it was gamers launching their profession, making a comeback, setting data for his or her dwelling nation, or graduating to Tour-level tournaments, ATPTour.com seems to be at 5 Challenger participant storylines from 2022.
Nobody completed the 12 months with a greater profitable proportion on the Challenger Tour than Draper. The 20-year-old boasted a 24-4 Challenger match-winning report and picked up a season-leading 4 Challenger titles (tied w/ Pedro Cachin): Forli-2, Forli-4, Forli-5, and Saint-Brieuc. At the Forli-5 Challenger, Draper fended off 4 match factors within the ultimate to defeat Swiss Alexander Ritschard.
Draper is the second-youngest participant from Great Britain to win a number of Challenger titles, solely behind the-then 18-year-old Andy Murray in 2005 (Aptos, Binghamton).
“I believe the Challenger Tour is very large for gamers,” Draper stated. “When you come by way of and begin profitable tournaments back-to-back at that degree it provides you big confidence you possibly can come on Tour and compete with these guys. Everyone on the Challenger degree is hungry to do effectively as a result of that’s what will get you onto the Tour. The Challenger Tour has given me an actual base and confidence of coming onto the Tour.”
The Briton’s standout season earned him a spot on the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, the place he gained two round-robin matches and was a semi-finalist (l. Nakashima).
The 20-year-old American made the most important bounce to crack the Top 100 this season. After beginning the 12 months ranked exterior the Top 500 within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Shelton climbed to a career-high 97 following three consecutive Challenger titles (Charlottesville, Knoxville, Champaign) and ended the season with a 15 match-winning streak.
Challenger Win Percentage Leaders (2022)
The 2022 NCAA singles champion is the youngest participant in Challenger historical past to win three titles in as many weeks and the second American to take action (Sam Querrey ‘14 Napa, Sacramento, Tiburon). The former University of Florida star is the primary participant to win a Challenger title and the NCAA singles title in the identical season since Steve Johnson in 2012.
“[The Challenger Tour] provides you a chance to see tennis from guys who’re taking part in at Top 100-level,” Shelton instructed ATPTour.com in July. “It’s a number of several types of competitors and it units you up for enjoying on the ATP Tour. It’s a very good stepping stone and the extent is not that far off from the ATP [Tour].”
Wu Yibing, Zhang Zhizhen, and Shang Juncheng mixed to make Chinese tennis historical past this season.
Wu, who claimed three Challenger titles this season (Orlando, Rome, Indianapolis), held the second-best profitable proportion on the Challenger Tour. In the Indianapolis Challenger ultimate, the 23-year-old saved six championship factors in a dramatic 6-7(10), 7-6(13), 6-3 victory over Aleksandar Kovacevic.
After being sidelined for 3 years resulting from accidents and the pandemic, Wu was nominated for the 2022 ATP Comeback Player Of The Year.
Wu Yibing in motion on the 2022 Indianapolis Challenger. Credit: Larry Lawrence
Part of his inspiring comeback got here at Flushing Meadows, the place he and Zhang battled by way of qualifying to grow to be the primary Chinese males to compete within the US Open most important draw within the Open Era.
In October, Zhang turned the primary Chinese male to crack the Top 100. The Shanghai native was a four-time Challenger finalist this season, together with in Cordenons, Italy, the place he gained his first Challenger title since October 2019 (Shenzhen).
At the Lexington Challenger, it was Shang’s flip to etch his title into the historical past books. The Beijing native gained the exhausting court docket occasion to grow to be the youngest (17 years, 6 months) Challenger champion this season. Since 2010, solely 4 males have gained a Challenger title at a youthful age: Felix Auger-Aliassime (16 years, 10 months), Alexander Zverev (17 years, 2 months), Carlos Alcaraz (17 years, 3 months), and Nicola Kuhn (17 years, 3 months).
It was a record-setting 12 months for Argentine gamers, who mixed for 23 Challenger titles. Cachin, 27, led the best way as he competed in seven Challenger finals this 12 months and claimed 4 titles: Madrid, Prague, Todi, Santo Domingo. The Bell Ville native was the one Argentine to win greater than a pair of titles this season.
“[Argentina’s 23] Challenger titles in a 12 months is unimaginable.” Cachin stated. “It’s wonderful to have such a possibility for all of the gamers to be part of one thing particular like that. It just isn’t straightforward for our gamers to journey the world, going very removed from dwelling, however to have this achievement makes all of it price it.”
At the US Open, Cachin gained back-to-back five-setters to achieve the third spherical (l. Moutet). After beginning the season as No. 245, Cachin’s breakthrough season propelled him to a career-high 54 in November.
The 19-year-old’s three Challenger titles this season was essentially the most of any Italian. The Pesaro native triumphed on the Forli-1, Lugano, and Mallorca Challengers. #TheNextGenATP star’s title on dwelling soil in January made him the second-youngest (18 years, 5 months) Challenger winner this season. Nardi and Swiss Dominic Stricker had been the one youngsters to win a number of Challenger titles this season.
Luca Nardi celebrates profitable some extent on the 2022 Mallorca Challenger. Credit: Alvaro Diaz/Rafa Nadal Academy
At the start of the 12 months, Nardi made new commitments to himself, which helped him obtain a career-high 126.
“I began coaching tougher and with extra depth. I additionally began a eating regimen and consuming higher,” Nardi instructed ATPTour.com in May. “Everything goes higher from that. I’m attempting to be as skilled as I can. In basic, it’s the identical coaching, with possibly some additional work on the forehand and backhand, however the depth is way totally different. That is the distinction.”
In October, Nardi earned his maiden Tour-level win (d. Shevchenko) on the ATP 250 occasion in Astana, the place he superior by way of qualifying and misplaced to Stefanos Tsitsipas within the second spherical.