Murray, Humbert Highlight Challenger 175 Triumphs In 2023

Borges won first Challenger 175 event
December 07, 2023
Andy Murray won three ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2023.
Jared Wickerham/ATP Tour
Andy Murray won three ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2023. By Grant Thompson

Andy Murray’s trio of titles on the ATP Challenger Tour stood out as a memorable moment in 2023.

The Scot was one of four players to win at the all-new Challenger 175 level this year with his triumph at the Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole, his first title of any kind since claiming the ATP 250 event in Antwerp in 2019.

“This last year, 18 months has been a bit of struggle with my game. But [my team] have been there supporting me and working with me to try and get better,” Murray said during the trophy presentation.

Murray’s road to the title was not easy. In the opening round, he defeated tour-veteran and former World No. 6 Gael Monfils. Murray maintained a high level all week, rallying past then World No. 17 Tommy Paul in the final.

The results kept coming for the 36-year-old, who won the Lexus Surbiton Trophy in June to become the oldest grass-court champion in Challenger history (since 1978) and extended his winning streak to 10 by claiming the Nottingham Challenger.

Frenchman Ugo Humbert also enjoyed a mid-season surge on the ATP Challenger Tour by claiming two consecutive 175 titles.

In Cagliari, Italy, the 25-year-old saved three match points against Taro Daniel in a four-hour, 13-minute quarter-final marathon before walking away with his first clay-court title. Humbert survived another lengthy battle - more than three hours - in the final against Laslo Djere.

“I will never forget this trophy because I hate clay normally, never won more than two matches in a row on clay,” Humbert said in his post-tournament press conference. “It feels unbelievable to have the trophy today… I don’t know what to think, I’m just super happy.”

<a href=''>Ugo Humbert</a> is crowned champion at the Cagliari Challenger.
Ugo Humbert is crowned champion at the Cagliari Challenger. Credit: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour
Humbert’s run did not stop there. The lefty captured the BNP Paribas Primrose in Bordeaux, where he downed Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the final. Humbert played with conviction behind his serve all week and returned to the Top 40 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time since 31 January, 2022. Humbert finished the season at a career-high No. 20.

Portugal’s Nuno Borges was the first Challenger 175 champion when he lifted the Arizona Tennis Classic trophy in March.

After earning the highest-ranked win of his career in the opening round against World No. 38 Diego Schwartzman, Borges then defeated Roman Safiullin, Alexei Popyrin, Jan-Lennard Struff and Alexander Shevchenko to cap a 10-match winning streak at the Challenger level and claim his biggest career title.

“Somehow I found myself in the final and I finally did it,” Borges said at the time. “I feel like I’m still absorbing it but it’s unbelievable. First Challenger 175 event, it’s a very special place. It motivates me a lot for everything else.”

<a href=''>Nuno Borges</a> celebrates his title at the <a href=''>Arizona Tennis Classic</a> with a pool plunge.
Nuno Borges celebrates his title at the Arizona Tennis Classic with a pool plunge. Credit: Mary Grace Grabill
German Dominik Koepfer overcame several challenges faced to win the Piemonte Open Intesa Sanpaolo in Turin, where rain forced the tournament to be moved from clay to an indoor hard court for the semi-finals and final.

The 29-year-old played his first-round match in Turin approximately 48 hours after competing in the Prague Challenger final. With no signs of fatigue, Koepfer claimed his fourth Challenger crown.

“It wasn't easy to go from outdoor clay to fast indoor courts in just a few hours, but I'm proud of how I was able to adapt,” Koepfer said. “It was an incredible week, which gave me the most important title of my career.”

<a href=''>Dominik Koepfer</a> during Saturday's Turin Challenger final.
Dominik Koepfer in action at the Turin Challenger. Credit: Francesco Panunzio

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