Jordan Thompson Is On A Tear
In 2018, Jordan Thompson enjoyed a historic season. The Aussie won 52 matches on the ATP Challenger Tour, the second-most in history. He lifted three trophies at that level last year, and is now up to a career-high No. 60 in the ATP Rankings.
“I’m very happy. I'm at a career-high. Obviously looking to push forward from there, but I'm taking it one match at a time,” said Thompson, who on Monday won his first-round clash at the New York Open against home favourite Noah Rubin. “Hopefully I can get inside the Top 50, but there’s a long way to go still.”
Thompson has proven he is capable of competing against some of the best players in the world on a big stage. Two years ago, he defeated then-World No. 1 Andy Murray at the Fever-Tree Championships, a tournament the Brit has won five times.
“I think playing at this level every week is the key. In 2017, I won a lot of matches on Tour. Last year wasn’t the case, I didn’t do so well and went back to the Challenger level to try to get match fit,” Thompson said. “I feel comfortable in every situation and I think it helped.”
Most ATP Challenger Tour Match Wins In A Season
|1. Carlos Berlocq||57||2010|
|2. Jordan Thompson||52||2018|
|3. Boris Pashanski||51||2005|
Last year, the 24-year-old was just 1-11 at tour-level. But not only did he win 14 of 15 ATP Challenger Tour matches to close the season, he has already triumphed in four tour-level matches this year.
“I think confidence goes a long way in tennis and when you lose a bit of confidence, it really shows. Going back and getting a lot of matches, I got my confidence up again,” Thompson said. “The last few tournaments of 2018 really helped. I made a final and won two Challengers in Australia… Most of those matches I got better and better and played a couple of my best matches of the year. The last few weeks of the year really helped.”
Now it’s about Thompson maintaining his momentum. While his 52-win Challenger campaign put him in the history books, the Aussie would rather not add his name under the same category again. Thompson aims to continue his climb and make his mark at ATP Tour events.
“I’d like to be playing every week at tour-level. I want to stay at this level, to be playing these events and Grand Slams year-round and try to play the least number of Challengers as possible,” Thompson said. “I don’t think anyone wants to be seen as the Challenger guy. I think everyone wants to be on the main Tour. That’s why we play tennis, to be the best. But a lot of guys have had great Challenger success like Dudi Sela and Yen-Hsun Lu. They’ve won an incredible number of titles at the Challenger level and have both gotten to around 30th in the world, so there’s no shame in that, either.”
Against Rubin, who had the entire crowd on his side on Long Island, Thompson missed out on eight set points in the opener before settling down and slowly turning the match around, winning in three sets. For many players, losing those opportunities would have been a major mental hurdle to overcome.
“It’s been like that my whole career. I pride myself on competing my [behind] off, really," Thompson said. "A lot of guys would have had about seven or eight set points in the first set and I think a lot of guys would go away [mentally] if they were in my position. But I hung tough and scraped out a win.”
Thompson, with confidence and momentum on his side, will hope to battle to another victory on Wednesday against American qualifier Christopher Eubanks.