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2023 ATP Challenger Tour: By The Numbers

Matteo Arnaldi BNP Paribas Open-Day 2 Indian Wells

The ATP Challenger Tour broke all the records in its 46th season, totaling 196 events while increasing the prize money and amount of points on offer. Before we head to the short Challenger Tour break, here are a bunch of stats and facts about what took place in 2023. Feel free to check out the previous editions of this piece about the years – 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2019.

Tournaments by surface

  • 97 – Clay (including two indoor events in Szekesfehervar and Maia)
  • 63 – Outdoor hard
  • 32 – Indoor hard
  • 3 – Grass
  • 1 – Carpet

One of the main goals of the ATP for 2023 was the optimization of the Challenger calendar, which presents itself in a more even spread of tournaments on clay and hard. In 2022, 58% of ATP Challenger Tour events were held on clay, a figure that is down to 49% now. Grass remains on tour with the UK Swing of Surbiton/Nottingham/Ilkley, while Ismaning is still the only carpet Challenger left. Szekesfehervar joined Maia as the 2nd indoor clay venue. What’s especially striking is the number of outdoor hard court tournaments going up by 20 compared to 2022.

Number of events per country

  • 23 – Italy
  • 22 – United States
  • 16 – France

Italy retains its spot at the top of this leaderboard, although the United States actually had two more events scheduled which were canceled (Columbus, Las Vegas). It’s the same top 3 and same order as in 2022, despite Italy going down from 28 to 23 tournaments held.

Titles won per country (singles)

  • 27 – France
  • 21 – Argentina
  • 17 – Italy, United States
  • 13 – Australia

The previous record stood at 23 (Argentina 2022) and was blown to pieces by France this year with 19 different champions (27-24 in finals). It was a very solid campaign for Australia, the only country with a double-digit number in 2023 that didn’t get there in 2022.

Most titles won (singles)

  • 5 – Mariano Navone
  • 4 – Facundo Diaz Acosta, Aleksandar Kovacevic, Thiago Seyboth Wild, Alejandro Tabilo
  • 3 – Matteo Arnaldi, Zizou Bergs, Nuno Borges, Constant Lestienne, Hamad Medjedovic, Andy Murray, Max Purcell, Zachary Svajda

Mariano Navone had a chance to post at least 6 titles as the 7th player in history, but lost his 6th final after going unbeaten in the first 5 (the record belongs to Tallon Griekspoor, who won 8 in 2021). Andy Murray clinching 3 titles was quite a big narrative with the former World No. 1 returning to the winners’ circle on the Challenger Tour after almost 18 years.

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Most titles won (doubles)

  • 8 – Dan Added, Evan King
  • 7 – Hendrik Jebens, Andrew Paulson, Reese Stalder
  • 6 – Guido Andreozzi, Victor Vlad Cornea, Constantin Frantzen, Petr Nouza

Evan King/Reese Stalder were the leaders in titles as a pair, winning 7 of them (King added one with Brandon Nakashima). Dan Added clinched 4 trophies with Albano Olivetti and 1 each with four other Frenchmen.

Most match wins (singles)

  • 45 – Francisco Comesana
  • 44 – Facundo Diaz Acosta
  • 42 – Luciano Darderi
  • 41 – James Duckworth, Alejandro Tabilo
  • 40 – Flavio Cobolli, Mariano Navone

Francisco Comesana tops the list after losing his last 8 Challenger matches in 2022, largely thanks to a streak of 9 consecutive quarterfinals. Antoine Escoffier, at 38 wins, was the player with the highest amount of match victories who missed out on a title (one final in Segovia, seven semifinal appearances). All the players at 40+ but James Duckworth posted personal-best figures with the Australian previously scoring 49 Challenger Tour wins in 2019.

Best win percentage (minimum 15 matches played)

  • 94% – Andy Murray (15-1)
  • 88% – Ugo Humbert (14-2)
  • 84% – Jordan Thompson (16-3)
  • 83% – Max Purcell (34-7)
  • 81% – Jack Draper (13-3), Thiago Seyboth Wild (38-9)

Andy Murray took 3 titles in Aix-en-Provence, Surbiton, and Nottingham, also suffering a 3-6 0-6 loss to Stan Wawrinka in the meantime. Other than claiming two Challenger 175 trophies in Cagliari and Bordeaux, Ugo Humbert also lost a historic final to Luca Van Assche in Pau (will be mentioned later in the article) and exited Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve in the opening round against Gauthier Onclin. Max Purcell and Thiago Seyboth Wild deserve a lot of credit for staying at over 80% despite 40+ matches played.

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ATP Top 50 Singles Ranking Participation (Challenger 175 category excluded)

  • 25 – Daniel Evans – Surbiton – Second round (lost to Gabriel Diallo)
  • 40 – Roberto Bautista Agut – Second round (lost to Billy Harris)
  • 41 – Jiri Lehecka – Prostejov – Quarterfinal (lost to Lukas Klein)
  • 43 – Andy Murray – Surbiton – Champion
  • 43 – Andy Murray – Nottingham – Champion
  • 47 – Marc-Andrea Huesler – Mexico City – Second round (lost to Federico Gaio)
  • 47 – Adrian Mannarino – Oeiras – Second round (lost to Kimmer Coppejans)
  • 50 – David Goffin – Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve – Champion

Besides the new Challenger 175 category (more on that later in the article), players ranked between 11-50 can only enter a Challenger Tour event with a wildcard pre-approved by the ATP. Daniel Evans and Andy Murray usually play a grass Challenger or two, and Jiri Lehecka and David Goffin appeared at events in their home countries. Marc-Andrea Huesler was trying to defend his title from 2022, while Roberto Bautista Agut chose Malaga as his first tournament after an injury. Adrian Mannarino made an interesting call of playing a Challenger on a surface that doesn’t suit his game at all, assuming he gets more playtime than in any of the main tour events that week.

Finals Between Top Seeds (singles)

  • (2) Rinky Hijikata over (1) James Duckworth in Burnie
  • (2) Fabian Marozsan over (1) Sebastian Ofner in Antalya
  • (2) Matteo Arnaldi over (1) Borna Gojo in Murcia
  • (2) Alexander Shevchenko over (1) Pedro Cachin in Madrid
  • (1) Tomas Barrios Vera over (2) Alejandro Tabilo in Florianopolis
  • (2) Steve Johnson over (1) Arthur Cazaux in Lexington
  • (1) Christopher O’Connell over (2) Yosuke Watanuki in Shanghai

Qualifier Champions

  • Joris De Loore – Oeiras (1)
  • Arthur Cazaux – Nonthaburi (2)
  • Dominik Koepfer – Mexico City
  • Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard – Leon
  • Sumit Nagal – Rome
  • Mate Valkusz – Skopje
  • Sho Shimabukuro – Tunis
  • Vitaliy Sachko – Bratislava
  • Manuel Guinard – Troyes
  • Duje Ajdukovic – Luedenscheid
  • Oriol Roca Batalla – Braga
  • Ugo Blanchet – Malaga
  • Kyrian Jacquet – Olbia
  • Lukas Klein – Ortisei
  • Antoine Bellier – Ismaning
  • Alejandro Tabilo – Brasilia

Lukas Klein was actually the highest-ranked player in the Ortisei field, but couldn’t sign up for the main draw as he was still in the top 150 at the time of the main draw cut-off (Challenger 50 eligibility rules). Alejandro Tabilo was a late sign-up for Brasilia and was the third-highest-ranked player in the field.

Wildcard Champions (singles)

  • David Goffin (Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve)
  • Aleksandar Kovacevic (Waco)
  • Andy Murray (Aix-en-Provence)
  • Jakub Mensik (Prague)
  • Andy Murray (Surbiton)
  • Andy Murray (Nottingham)
  • Kei Nishikori (Palmas del Mar)
  • Liam Draxl (Calgary)

David Goffin and Andy Murray (twice) needed the wildcards to get into the events as they were in the top 50 at the time and couldn’t enter them directly. That doesn’t count for Murray’s Aix-en-Provence run (top 50 players are allowed in at Challenger 175 events), but he and Aleksandar Kovacevic in Waco were still seeded at their respective events. Jakub Mensik, Kei Nishikori, and Liam Draxl were, if you may, proper wildcards ranked much lower than the other players in the tournament (more on the former World No.4’s run later)

Lucky Loser Champions

  • Matteo Gigante – Tenerife (3)

Matteo Gigante lost to Giovanni Fonio 4-6 4-6 in the final qualifying round, but was fortunate to receive a second chance. But that’s as far as luck can take you, then you actually have to put in the work yourself. Gigante made full use of this opportunity and scored a key win over Bonadio 5-7 7-6 6-3 in the semifinals (despite having to play twice that day), before defeating Travaglia 6-3 6-2 for his maiden Challenger Tour title. He also became the first lucky loser champion at this level since Tommy Paul in Charlottesville in 2018.

Special Exempt Champions

  • Thiago Seyboth Wild (Vina del Mar)
  • Zsombor Piros (Oeiras)
  • Hugo Gaston (Trieste)

To become a special exempt at a Challenger Tour event, you have to be competing at another event of this circuit by the time qualifying starts and therefore be unable to participate in it. In most cases, that simply means if you’re in the final of a Challenger that’s held on Sunday, you can seek a special exempt spot for next week. Thiago Seyboth Wild, Zsombor Piros, and Hugo Gaston all pulled this off by picking up back-to-back titles.

Longest super tie-breaker – 17-15

It was a high-profile quarterfinal in Bratislava as Andrey Golubev and Denys Molchanov defeated Ivan Liutarevich and Vladyslav Manafov 6-7 7-6 17-15. They first allowed their opponents to make it back from 5-9 down, then saved four match points of their own before eventually clinching the win on the 7th opportunity. Golubev/Molchanov went on to reach the final.

Double bagels (main draw only)

  • Stefano Travaglia over Oscar Jose Guttierez – Tenerife (3) R2
  • Seong-Chan Hong over Zachary Svajda –  Sarasota R1
  • Jesper de Jong over Jelle Sels – Roseto degli Abruzzi R2
  • Nick Hardt/Naoki Nakagawa over Jaime Prohens Munoz/Guillermo Rojas Pedron – Coquimbo R1
  • Andrew Paulson/Michael Vrbensky over Juan Pablo Paz/Dan Alexandru Tomescu – Sibiu R1
  • Tristan Lamasine over Manuel Guinard – Hamburg R1

Shenzhen (2) almost got a double bagel final, but Coleman Wong saved three match points from 0-6 0-5 0-40 down against James Duckworth. This list doesn’t include virtual double bagels (you win twelve games in a row, but the match scoreline is not 6-0 6-0) and it’s worth noting that Seong-Chan Hong also had that in his repertoire (3-6 6-0 6-0 win over Zsombor Piros in Troisdorf).

New category introduced – 175

Five Challenger 175 events (Phoenix, Aix-en-Provence, Cagliari, Bordeaux, Turin) were held in the second weeks of extended ATP 1000s (Indian Wells, Madrid, Rome). Players ranked in the top 10 still aren’t eligible to enter these, but those ranked between 11 and 50 are free to compete. It all led to some massive storylines like Andy Murray beating World No. 17 Tommy Paul in the Aix-en-Provence final or Ugo Humbert picking up two of these trophies. Things have never been bigger on the ATP Challenger Tour.

First unranked champion ever – Kei Nishikori

In 2021, Dominic Stricker won Lugano while ranked World No. 874, becoming the lowest-ranked Challenger champion. Guido Andreozzi beat him by 27 spots (World No. 901) in the last week of the 2022 Challenger season in Temuco. But Kei Nishikori made this record unbeatable with his Palmas del Mar run in 2023, grabbing a title right away after 19 months of inactivity.

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Longest final ever – Luca Van Assche over Ugo Humbert in Pau, 3 hours and 56 minutes

Beating the previous record by 25 minutes? That’s huge. Somdev Devvarman and Daniel Nguyen were competing for the Winnetka title in 2015 for 3 hours and 31 minutes, which was equaled by Genaro Alberto Olivieri and Tomas Martin Etcheverry in Montevideo in 2022. But Luca Van Assche beating Ugo Humbert took that stat to 3 hours and 56 minutes, a record that might be extremely tough to surpass.

First final between former top 10 players in 17 years – Fabio Fognini over Roberto Bautista Agut

Fabio Fognini against Roberto Bautista Agut in a Challenger final? Pretty crazy, especially considering that before this season, neither had even competed at an event at this level in about 10 years. It was the fifth-ever final between two former top 10 players, with three of them coming way back in 1981-82 and Guillermo Canas (who was returning from a doping ban) defeating Nicolas Lapentti in Montevideo in 2006. Fognini and Bautista Agut actually delivered one of the best matches of the year, too, the Italian saving two match points to take it 3-6 7-6 7-6.

Three titles in three weeks – Max Purcell

For the third straight year, a player managed to claim three titles in three consecutive weeks (Benjamin Bonzi and Tallon Griekspoor did it in 2021, Ben Shelton in 2022). Already an elite doubles player, Max Purcell decided to focus more on singles in 2023 and earned the instant reward by going 15-0 in the Indian Swing (Chennai/Bangalore/Pune). During that run, he saved two match points against Nicolas Moreno de Alboran in the Chennai final.

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Won an ATP Tour and an ATP Challenger Tour title in the same year

  • Roberto Carballes Baena (Marrakech ATP 250/Seville Challenger)
  • Arthur Fils (Lyon ATP 250/Oeiras (2) Challenger)
  • Ugo Humbert (Metz ATP 250/Cagliari and Bordeaux Challengers)

Ugo Humbert went 14-2 on the Challenger Tour, grabbing another final and one first-round exit. By winning that title on the main circuit in the last week of the regular season, he finished the year in the top 20. Fils had an 11-4 Challenger record and lost his last match at this level to Humbert in Bordeaux, just before picking up the trophy in Lyon. Carballes Baena played five Challengers in 2023, winning the title in Seville and losing in the opening round at the other four events!

Main Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea – USA TODAY Sports


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