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By The Numbers: 2022 ATP Challenger Tour

  • Posted: Dec 17, 2022

By The Numbers: 2022 ATP Challenger Tour

Players from Argentina combined for a record-setting 23 Challenger titles

True tennis fanatics find joy in sharing any random fact or record that they can recite from memory. The 2022 ATP Challenger Tour season held no shortage of historic moments that can be shared as your next trivia question.

After 11 months of nonstop tennis, takes a deep dive into the facts and figures from the 2022 Challenger Tour season.

Halys Held Most Wins
For the second straight year, a Frenchman topped the Challenger match wins leaderboard. This season, Quentin Halys was nearly unstoppable as he collected a 43-10 record on the Challenger Tour.

The 26-year-old reached seven Challenger finals, including in Pau, Lille, and Ismaning, where he captured the title. Halys finished the year at a career-high 64 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. 

Player W-L Titles
Quentin Halys 43-10 3
Tomas Martin Etcheverry 40-16 1
Constant Lestienne 40-17 3

Title Leaders
Pedro Cachin and Jack Draper finished with a season-leading four Challenger titles. While the Argentine Cachin competed in seven finals, he was crowned champion in Madrid, Prague, Todi, and Santo Domingo. Draper’s early-season surge helped pave the path of his graduation to Tour-level tournaments and qualification for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. The Briton triumphed at the Forli-2, Forli-4, Forli-5, and Saint-Brieuc Challengers.

Teen Titans
Nine teenagers broke through to triumph at the Challenger level. China’s Shang Juncheng won the Lexington Challenger to become the youngest (17 years, 6 months) Challenger champion of 2022. The Beijing native is the youngest Chinese champion in Challenger Tour history. Luca Nardi and Dominic Stricker were the only teenagers to win multiple Challenger titles this season.

Other teen champions include Luca Van Assche, Holger Rune, Hamad Medjedovic, Francesco Maestrelli, Flavio Cobolli, and Zachary Svajda.

Biggest Movers To Top 100
Ben Shelton, who was a six-time Challenger finalist this year, led the way as one of the four biggest movers to the Top 100.

Player Ranking Jump Year-End 2021-2022 Titles
Ben Shelton +471 568-97 3
Jack Draper +217 259-42 4
Pedro Cachin +201 258-57 4
Chun-hsin Tseng +164 251-87 2

Title Leaders By Country
Players from 38 countries won titles this year. Argentines collected a historic 23 Challenger titles, which surpassed their own record for most titles by a country in a single season (20). French players, who combined for 22 titles, were not far behind.

Valentin Vacherot, who won the Nonthaburi Challenger, became the second player from Monaco to win a title and the first since 2004.

Country Titles Winners




Cachin-4, Comesana-2, Ugo Carabelli-2, Bagnis-2, JM Cerundolo-2, Rodriguez Taverna-1, F Cerundolo-1, Etcheverry-1, Diaz Acosta-1, Coria-1, Mena-1, Bautista Torres-1, Ficovich-1, Kicker-1, Olivieri-1, Andreozzi-1



Lestienne-3, Halys-3, Bonzi-2, Grenier-2, Moutet-2, Barrere-2, Guinard-1, Furness-1, Rinderknech-1, Muller-1, Cazaux-1, Humbert-1, Gaston-1, Van Assche-1



Nardi-3, Cecchinato-2, Bellucci-2, Mager-1, Cobolli-1, Agamenone-1, Arnaldi-1, Pellegrino-1, Musetti-1, Maestrelli-1, Passaro-1, Brancaccio-1
United States



Shelton-3, Mmoh-2, Escobedo-1, Kudla-1, Sock-1, Nava-1, Svajda-1, Moreno de Alboran-1, Sandgren-1

ATP Tour & Challenger Tour Winners
Borna Coric and Holger Rune showed their dominance at the Challenger level and on the ATP Tour in 2022.

Coric, who won the Parma Challenger in June, upset three Top-10 players en route to winning the title in Cincinnati to become the first player since 1993 to win a Challenger and an ATP Masters 1000 title in the same season. And then it was the Danish teen’s turn in Bercy.

Rune, 19, claimed the Sanremo Challenger in April before rising to three Tour-level titles, including the ATP Masters 1000 event in Paris.

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Four other players also were crowned champions at both levels: Yoshihito Nishioka, Marc-Andrea Huesler, Francisco Cerundolo, and Lorenzo Musetti.

Doubles Titles History
In the span of six months, British duo Julian Cash and Henry Patten went from scrambling to gain entry into Challenger tournaments to finishing the season with a record-setting 10 titles.

In May, Cash and Patten were ranked outside the Top 300 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings. The former college standouts made quick progress as they collected titles on all three surfaces and surpassed the previous Challenger doubles titles record, eight, which was set in 2012 by twin brothers from Thailand, Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana.

Fast Facts

  • A total of 52 players collected their maiden title this season. Shang, 17, was the youngest of the bunch while 28-year-old Alexander Ritschard was the oldest player to win his first title in 2022.
  • #NextGenATP stars lit up the Challenger Tour this year. Players born in 2001 or later combined for 40 titles.
  • A single-season record 22 players advanced through qualifying en route to capturing a Challenger title.
  • Longest final: Genaro Alberto Olivieri and Tomas Martin Etcheverry tied the record for the longest Challenger final. After three hours, 31 minutes, Olivieri defeated his countryman 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-3 to win the Montevideo Challenger.
  • Shortest final: Hamad Medjedovic needed just 48 minutes to down Zhang Zhizhen 6-1, 6-2 at the Luedenscheid Challenger.
  • Youngest final: Hungary’s Filip Misolic, 20, defeated 17-year-old Mili Poljicak to win the Zagreb Challenger. In Granby, 20-year-old Gabriel Diallo defeated Chinese teen Shang Juncheng in the championship match.
  • Oldest winner: Fernando Verdasco won the Monterrey Challenger to become the season’s oldest champion (38 years, 3 months). Only Ivo Karlovic has won a Challenger at an older age: 39 years, 7 months (2018 Calgary).
  • Four players saved at least one match point in a Challenger final: Wu Yibing (6) in Indianapolis, Jack Draper (4) at the Forli-5 event, Emilio Gomez (4) in Salinas, and Zizou Bergs (1) in Ilkley.
  • Guido Andreozzi became the lowest-ranked champion since 2000. The Argentine was No. 901 when he triumphed at the Temuco Challenger.
  • Ben Shelton became the youngest player in Challenger history to win three titles in as many weeks (Charlottesville, Knoxville, Champaign).
  • At the Orleans Challenger, Gregoire Barrere became the fifth player since 2010 to defeat four Top-100 players en route to a title.
  • Francisco and Juan Manuel Cerundolo became the first pair of brothers to win titles in back-to-back seasons.
  • A record-setting 184 tournaments were played across 38 countries.
  • The Tampere Open, which is the longest-running event on the Challenger Tour, became the first tournament to celebrate its 40-year anniversary.

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Why ATP Players Are Directing More Second Serves To The Forehand

  • Posted: Dec 17, 2022

Why ATP Players Are Directing More Second Serves To The Forehand

Players fire close to 50 per cent more serves to the forehand than 10 years ago

Coaches have for years drilled into budding tennis players and professionals that serving to the backhand provides a stronger chance of winning second-serve points. In fact, it is clear that this tactic is the norm on the ATP Tour. Fifty per cent of serves have been directed to the backhand corner and 35 per cent to the body – mainly to the backhand side – leaving only 15 per cent of serves delivered to the forehand.

The thinking is simple: Serving to the backhand provides a safer option when sending down a slower delivery on the second serve. Naturally, forehand returns are more dangerous, so a high ball to the backhand provides a better chance of neutralising the opponent’s return, while reducing the risk of double faulting.

Animation 1: Serve Zone Trajectories on second serves to Deuce court: Win % and In %

However, the growth of increasingly sophisticated data and analysis of each and every action in the sport of tennis undermines the logic behind this long-held belief.

ATP players win 51 per cent of points when serving to the forehand corner versus just 49 per cent when serving to the backhand corner.

In other words, primarily directing the second serve to the backhand of an ATP opponent typically reduces the chances of winning the point. This information is derived from detailed analysis for nearly 150 right-handed ATP players with at least 1,000 second serves to right-handed opponents over a 10-year period.

players who often serve to forehand chartTable 1: High frequency and second-serve win per centage to forehand and backhand corners of 150 right-handed ATP players with at least 1,000 second serves to right-handed opponents over a 10-year period.

What’s more, well-placed deuce-side second serves to the forehand corner generate 8.5 per cent more points won than well-placed serves to the backhand corner of the same service box. Perhaps even more surprisingly, second serves to the forehand corner in the deuce court lead to eight per cent more unreturned serves and lead servers to win 17 per cent more deuce-side return points in shorter rallies of five or fewer shots.

Animation 2: Win % heatmap for placement of second serves to Deuce court

All of this goes to highlight the growing importance of accessing and understanding detailed data analysis on Tour to enable players to leverage every marginal gain available to them. This is why Tennis Data Innovations is committed to delivering detailed tracking data on every court across the ATP Tour in 2023, to shed light on the most effective tactics and strategies in tennis.

And what does all this mean in practice? Well, just as we have seen with the inexorable rise of three-pointers in the NBA driven by crunching the data, so we are seeing the second serve to the forehand rise, increasing from 15 per cent in 2012 to 22 per cent in 2022 (a 47 per cent jump).

Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev are two players who have embraced data analysis and who often serve to the forehand on their second serve on both sides of the court with success.

However, other players have been slower to embrace the insights provided by data analytics and we see a number who rarely serve to the forehand. Not surprisingly, they are missing out on crucial points.

Grigor Dimitrov, as an example, may have gained a significant number of points by serving to the forehand corner 25 per cent of the time instead of 10 per cent. The five per cent differential gained on those second serves could have led to several additional matches being won in the course of a season, such are the fine margins in our sport.

In real terms, the difference in Pepperstone ATP Rankings points and prize money foregone by an over-reliance on serving to the backhand could be sizeable.

players who rarely serve to forehand chartTable 2: Low frequency and second-serve win percentage to forehand and backhand corners. Date set of 150 right-handed ATP players with at least 1,000 second serves to right-handed opponents over a 10-year period.

Of course, we should not assume that pushing more second serves to the forehand will automatically increase the win per centage on all of those points. There is undoubtedly an element of surprise with serves to the forehand side currently that underpins its statistical advantage – built on the ingrained expectation of more serves being delivered to the other corner. This raises the question of how much more ATP players should serve to the forehand on second serve? Most players would benefit significantly if they served to the forehand at least 15-20 per cent more than they currently do.

One reason that second serves to the forehand have such a high win per centage is that they are surprising to the returner. Of course, as the per centage of serves by a player to the forehand increases, the win per centage decreases. Our analysis shows that increasing the proportion of serves to the forehand does not decrease the per centage of points won by very much. And more variation in second-serve location will deliver an increase in the win per centage of serves that continue to go to the backhand.

Given ever-improving racquets, string, and training technologies, which lead to faster and more accurate serves, we believe the per centage of serves to the forehand on second serve will continue to rise, with the expectation that one day we will see something closer to parity between the two sides.

Until then, we’ll likely continue to see an enlightened group of players and coaches take advantage of these marginal gains. In isolation, they may not seem like much, but in a sport where winning 51 per cent of the points will generally win you the match, these fine margins can be what separates success from failure.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series in which Golden Set Analytics and TDI are looking at the increasing prominence and importance of deeper tennis data in helping us all better understand the dynamics of the sport, whether as players, coaches, fans or administrators.

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Rune: The Soaring Star Who Never Stops Believing

  • Posted: Dec 17, 2022

Rune: The Soaring Star Who Never Stops Believing

Dane relives the ups and downs of his breakthrough season

This July, Holger Rune’s rapid rise had come to a screeching halt.

A 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals competitor, Rune’s season had started well. The teen, who began the year outside the Top 100 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, quickly climbed into the Top 50 by lifting his first ATP Tour trophy in Munich and advancing to the Roland Garros quarter-finals. The only player younger than the Dane in the Top 50 was Carlos Alcaraz.

But what seemed a bump-free road revealed potholes. After losing to Casper Ruud in the last eight on the Parisian clay, Rune lost seven consecutive matches. For nearly two months, he did not win a set against a Top 100 player.

“It was tough for sure. When you lose a couple of matches in a row, you’ve got to get back at it and you have [to think about] your goals that you want to achieve. But I think it’s normal in a way,” Rune told “It’s going up and then sometimes it’s going a little bit down. You’ve got to accept it because this is sports. Everybody can beat everybody, so it’s just about accepting it and keep believing.

“[To] keep having belief is the most important. That’s also what kept me going. I’m basically a guy who is very motivated no matter what happens, so that’s one thing that is also helping me.”

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In Hamburg, the 19-year-old lost his sixth straight match. He remembers thinking to himself about what was happening.

“It was really not a nice feeling,” Rune told “I kind of told myself that, ‘I still have to be motivated and get back to practice.’ As soon as I got back to practice, because I love tennis so much, I was just super motivated and then I was excited for the American swing and there I got things going a little bit again.”

After reaching the third round of the US Open and the quarter-finals in Metz, Rune won 19 of his next 21 matches. He made the final in Sofia, triumphed in Stockholm, advanced to the championship match in Basel and earned the best result of his career in Paris, where he claimed his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown.

Rune not only won the Rolex Paris Masters, but he did it in style, becoming the first player since the inception of the ATP Tour (1990) to claim five Top 10 victories at a tournament outside the Nitto ATP Finals. He clawed past in-form Novak Djokovic in the final.

<a href=''>Holger Rune</a> celebrates his Paris triumph with his team.
Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Patrick Mouratoglou, who officially joined Rune’s team in October, was impressed by the Dane’s bounceback.

“It shows about his character that he can bounce back and that’s also what we say about champions,” Mouratoglou told “It’s not about what they win, it’s about how they bounce back when they’re in trouble. So I think it’s a good indicator about his personality, how strong it is, how much he wants it and how much he’s able to bounce [back].

“A champion is able to bounce back during a match when he’s in trouble, during a season when he’s in trouble. They’re able to find within themselves the necessary strengths to find the solutions to inverse a difficult situation.”

With his big win in Paris, Rune broke into the world’s Top 10. Although he is happy with his progress, Rune has long spoken about his dreams of becoming World No. 1. What will it take to get there?

“It’s definitely to keep improving a lot. Keep improving my serve, return, everything that’s possible. And it is the same with the mental side: keep staying composed in those important moments, being brave,” Rune said. “There are a lot of small things that are so important.

“Also now that I have been in the Top 10, it’s going to be even harder because people start to know my game more, so I have to keep improving. “It’s going to be fun and a great experience.”

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