After 11 months of weekly ATP Challenger Tour tournaments, a bow was placed on the season which held historic moments.
Whether or not it was gamers launching their profession, making a comeback, setting data for his or her house nation, or graduating to Tour-level tournaments, ATPTour.com seems to be at 5 Challenger participant storylines from 2022.
No person completed the yr with a greater profitable share on the Challenger Tour than Draper. The 20-year-old boasted a 24-4 Challenger match-winning document and picked up a season-leading 4 Challenger titles (tied w/ Pedro Cachin): Forli-2, Forli-4, Forli-5, and Saint-Brieuc. On the Forli-5 Challenger, Draper fended off 4 match factors within the last to defeat Swiss Alexander Ritschard.
Draper is the second-youngest participant from Nice 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 mentioned. “Whenever you come by means of and begin profitable tournaments back-to-back at that degree it provides you big confidence you’ll be able to come on Tour and compete with these guys. Everybody 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 largest soar to crack the High 100 this season. After beginning the yr ranked exterior the High 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 Share 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 previous College 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 High 100-level,” Shelton advised ATPTour.com in July. “It is plenty of several types of competitors and it units you up for taking part in on the ATP Tour. It is a actually good stepping stone and the extent is not that far off from the ATP [Tour].”
Chinese language Trio
Wu Yibing, Zhang Zhizhen, and Shang Juncheng mixed to make Chinese language tennis historical past this season.
Wu, who claimed three Challenger titles this season (Orlando, Rome, Indianapolis), held the second-best profitable share on the Challenger Tour. Within the Indianapolis Challenger last, 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 on account of accidents and the pandemic, Wu was nominated for the 2022 ATP Comeback Participant Of The Yr.
Wu Yibing in motion on the 2022 Indianapolis Challenger. Credit score: Larry Lawrence
A part of his inspiring comeback got here at Flushing Meadows, the place he and Zhang battled by means of qualifying to grow to be the primary Chinese language males to compete within the US Open fundamental draw within the Open Period.
In October, Zhang grew to become the primary Chinese language male to crack the High 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).
On the Lexington Challenger, it was Shang’s flip to etch his identify into the historical past books. The Beijing native gained the arduous 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 yr for Argentine gamers, who mixed for 23 Challenger titles. Cachin, 27, led the way in which as he competed in seven Challenger finals this yr 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 yr is unimaginable.” Cachin mentioned. “It is superb to have such a possibility for all of the gamers to be part of one thing particular like that. It isn’t straightforward for our gamers to journey the world, going very removed from house, however to have this achievement makes all of it value it.”
On 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 probably the most of any Italian. The Pesaro native triumphed on the Forli-1, Lugano, and Mallorca Challengers. #TheNextGenATP star’s title on house 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 a degree on the 2022 Mallorca Challenger.” />
Luca Nardi celebrates profitable a degree on the 2022 Mallorca Challenger. Credit score: Alvaro Diaz/Rafa Nadal Academy
At the start of the yr, Nardi made new commitments to himself, which helped him obtain a career-high 126.
“I began coaching more durable and with extra depth. I additionally began a weight-reduction plan and consuming higher,” Nardi advised ATPTour.com in Might. “The whole lot goes higher from that. I am attempting to be as skilled as I can. Usually, it’s the identical coaching, with perhaps some further work on the forehand and backhand, however the depth is way totally different. That’s 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 means of qualifying and misplaced to Stefanos Tsitsipas within the second spherical.