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Borges Triumphs At Home, Kovacevic Claims Fourth Challenger Title Of 2023

  • Posted: Dec 04, 2023

Borges Triumphs At Home, Kovacevic Claims Fourth Challenger Title Of 2023

Bergs, Martinez also claim titles

Portugal’s Nuno Borges closed his 2023 season in the best possible way: winning an ATP Challenger Tour title on home soil.

The 26-year-old dropped just one set all week en route to winning the Maia Open, where he downed Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-4 in the final. Borges also won Challenger titles in Monterrey, Mexico and Phoenix, Arizona, where he lifted the first title of the all-new 175 category.

“It’s definitely the best season of my career,” Borges said. “Last year I had the chance to play some ATP tournaments and the Grand Slams, but in 2023 I was a regular on the tour and got to live amazing experiences like facing [Carlos] Alcaraz in Barcelona or [Stefanos] Tsitsipas in Rome, the kind of matches that make me feel what it’s like to play at the highest level. And in 2024 I’ll be looking for more.”

In addition to the great success Borges already tasted this year, his clay-court triumph at home is a memory that the World No. 66 will not soon forget.

“Right after winning the match point I started thinking about all the moments I lived here. I spent countless hours [here],” Borges said. “Watching the Davis Cup, being a ball kid in a Davis Cup tie. To become part of the group of champions here in Maia is something I’ll always cherish, especially because it happened in front of my family and my childhood friends. It’s definitely something very special for me and I’ll never forget it.”

2023 ATP Awards | And The Nominees Are...

In other ATP Challenger Tour action Sunday, Aleksandar Kovacevic became the fifth player to win four titles at that level in 2023, joining Mariano Navone (5), Facundo Diaz Acosta (4), Thiago Seyboth Wild (4) and Alejandro Tabilo (4).

Kovacevic, 25, rallied past Brazilian Gilbert Klier Junior 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the Challenger Dove Men+Care Temuco final. The former University of Illinois standout needed a deciding set in three of his five matches to lift the trophy.

Kovacevic also triumphed in Cleveland, Waco and Shenzhen this season and closes the year at World No. 110, nine spots shy of tying his career high. He is the second American to win four Challenger titles in a season (Justin Gimelstob, 2004).

<a href=Aleksandar Kovacevic wins his fourth ATP Challenger Tour title of 2023 in Temuco, Chile.” />
Aleksandar Kovacevic wins his fourth ATP Challenger Tour title of 2023 in Temuco, Chile. Credit: Challenger Dove Men+Care Temuco
Belgian Zizou Bergs lifted his third Challenger trophy of the year by winning the Yokkaichi, Japan, where he downed American Michael Mmoh 6-2, 7-6(2) in the final.

Bergs, who is No. 129 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, suffered a left wrist injury in July which forced him to hit only slice backhands for three months. Since returning to full health last month, the 24-year-old has won 12 of his past 14 matches with two title runs.

<a href=Zizou Bergs wins the Yokkaichi Challenger.” />
Zizou Bergs wins the Yokkaichi Challenger. Credit: Yokkaichi Challenger
In Maspalomas, Spain, home favourite Pedro Martinez treated the fans to a title run. The 26-year-old overcame Swiss qualifier Kilian Feldbausch 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in the eó Hotels Maspalomas Challenger final to capture his second Challenger crown of this year (Brest).

The Maspalomas Challenger marks Martinez’s third triumph at home, having previously won in Marbella in 2020 and Seville in 2021.

Feldbausch, 18, was competing in his first Challenger final and with the title, he would have been behind only Roger Federer as the second-youngest Swiss champion in Challenger history.

<a href=Pedro Martinez in action at the Maspalomas Challenger, where he won his fifth title at that level.” />
Pedro Martinez in action at the Maspalomas Challenger, where he won his fifth title at that level. Credit: eó Hotels Maspalomas Challenger

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#NextGenATP Stars Nominated For Newcomer Of The Year In 2023 Awards

  • Posted: Dec 04, 2023

#NextGenATP Stars Nominated For Newcomer Of The Year In 2023 Awards

Cobolli, Fils, Michelsen, Stricker and Luca Van Assche are nominees

They have arrived at the big stage, but they are only just getting started: Flavio Cobolli, Arthur Fils, Alex Michelsen, Dominic Stricker and Luca Van Assche are nominees for the Newcomer of the Year in the 2023 ATP Awards, to be announced later this month.

Selected by players, the award goes to the #NextGenATP player who entered the Top 100 for the first time in 2023 and made the biggest impact on the ATP Tour this season.

Player Age Career-High (Date)
Flavio Cobolli 21 No. 95 (23 October)
Arthur Fils 19 No. 36 (30 October)
Alex Michelsen 19 No. 94 (20 November)
Dominic Stricker 21 No. 88 (2 October)
Luca Van Assche 19 No. 63 (23 October)

Flavio Cobolli, 21
“I want to be in the future of tennis, I don’t want to stop,” Cobolli told after making his Top 100 breakthrough in October.

The Italian earned his second career ATP Challenger Tour title in Lisbon and reached the final in Olbia two weeks later, becoming one of seven players to win at least 40 Challenger-level matches in 2023 (40-26).

“It was of course special, because this year I worked a lot,” Cobolli said of his Lisbon trophy run. “I played 36 weeks, a lot. I was tired but I think that title means a lot for me and for the season. But I don’t want to stop now. I want to push more for the goals of 2024.”

Cobolli qualified for major main-draw debut at Roland Garros, where he fell to then World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz. The 21-year-old was also a quarter-finalist at the ATP 250 event in Munich.

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Arthur Fils, 19

The youngest champion on the ATP Tour this year? The heavy-hitting Fils, who triumphed on home soil in May at the ATP 250 event in Lyon.

“I will remember this forever,” Fils said after winning the title. Following that dream run, Fils rose into the Top 100 for the first time. He did not stop there.

Despite having zero tour-level wins entering the year, the 19-year-old reached the semi-finals at one ATP 500 and four ATP 250 tournaments in 2023. Fils peaked at World No. 36 in October after reaching the final in Antwerp, where he downed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last four. The Frenchman closed the season with a finalist finish at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM.

“It was a nice year for sure. I started at 250 but finished at 36, so that’s pretty good,” Fils said. “It still could have been better. I lost some close matches, like I did [Saturday] but it’s just experience and I will try to do better next year.”

Fils’ breakthrough season started from day one. He won his first nine matches of the year, including a title run at the Oeiras Challenger. In February, he made the most of opportunities to play at home, reaching the tour-level semi-finals in Montpellier and Marseille.

Alex Michelsen, 19
If you looked at the Top 600 at the start of January, you would not find the American’s name until the final spot: 600.

Michelsen has risen more than 500 spots this year, with a surprise finalist finish in Newport highlighting his season. “I think I’m going to need a month [to process this],” said Michelsen, who did not have an ATP Tour main-draw win before that week. The teen arrived at the grass-court tournament off the back of his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title in Chicago.

Michelsen announced in August that he would forego his college eligibility, having previously committed to the University of Georgia. Instead the California native would turn pro and win his first major-main draw match at the US Open before embarking on a late-season surge, winning nine consecutive matches in November with a title run at the Knoxville Challenger followed by a runner-up finish in Champaign.

“If you told me in January, when I was ranked 600 that I would be Top 100 by November, I’d call you crazy,” Michelsen said. “I didn’t think it would happen that quickly. I had a feeling after the Newport run. I got to No. 140 and I thought I could do it by the end of the year, but I still was like, ‘Oh, Top 100 is still kind of far away.’ Now that I’ve done it, it feels great.”

<a href=Alex Michelsen at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM.” />

Alex Michelsen at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM. Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Dominic Stricker, 21
New heights were reached in New York.

Stricker advanced through US Open qualifying en route to a fourth-round appearance at the season’s final major. The Swiss stunned Stefanos Tsitsipas after firing 78 winners in a five-set, second-round thriller that lasted four hours, 10 minutes.

“I was down 3-5 and then I came back in the fourth set. I don’t know how, but I did it somehow and then I kept playing very high level tennis. I am a bit speechless,” Stricker said at the time.

With two ATP Challenger Tour titles to his name in 2023 (Rovereto, Prague), it was the deep run at Flushing Meadows that propelled Stricker into the Top 100 for the first time on 11 September. The 21-year-old became the youngest Swiss to reach the milestone since 20-year-old Stan Wawrinka did so in 2005.

“I feel better on court than I did last year. I feel like my game has improved again,” Stricker told in August. “I’m also getting fitter body-wise, so that helps for sure. I think off court everything got a bit more serious. I’m also working maybe a little bit harder than I did before. I think everything is more professional than it was and that helps me for sure.”

The lefty earned another Top 10 victory in October, with this triumph coming in front of Stricker’s home crowd, upsetting Casper Ruud in Basel. Stricker closed the season with a second consecutive semi-final appearance at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM.

Luca Van Assche, 19
The final week of the 2022 season was prophetic for the Frenchman, who won his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title in Maia to close the year.

Van Assche built upon his momentum, winning two consecutive Challenger titles spanning from February to March, both equally memorable. In Pau, the teenager saved two championship points to defeat countryman Ugo Humbert in the longest Challenger final in history (three hours, 56 minutes). Van Assche then extended his winning streak to 10, triumphing at the Sanremo Challenger to make his Top 100 debut.

“Two years ago, I was like 1,000-something so I don’t think I would’ve expected to be Top 100 now,” Van Assche said in April. “Last year, I was like 400. I was not expecting this maybe a year or two ago. It was very fast. Of course I was dreaming about it. I’m very proud and I just want to be even better now.”

The Brussels-born player continued his breakthrough at the next level, earning his maiden tour-level win in Estoril and getting to the second round of his home Slam, Roland Garros, where he won the 2021 boys’ singles crown. A quarter-finalist in Hamburg and Metz, Van Assche was a semi-finalist at the Next Gen ATP Finals.

Van Assche

Luca Van Assche celebrates winning the longest ATP Challenger Tour final in Pau. Credit: Terega Open Pau Pyrenes

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Djokovic's Eighth Year-End No. 1 Finish, Two 20-Year-Olds In Year-End Top 10

  • Posted: Dec 04, 2023

Djokovic’s Eighth Year-End No. 1 Finish, Two 20-Year-Olds In Year-End Top 10

Alcaraz finishes No. 2, Medvedev No. 3

The ATP today published the 2023 year-end Pepperstone ATP Rankings on with Novak Djokovic finishing as ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone for a record-extending eighth time.

After a back-and-forth battle with Carlos Alcaraz throughout the season, Djokovic clinched the honour at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. The Serbian is now two year-end No. 1 finishes clear of the player with the second-most year-end No. 1 finishes, Pete Sampras (6).

The 36-year-old now owns the three oldest ATP Year-End No. 1 honours in history (since 1973) after accomplishing the feat as a 33-year-old in 2020 and a 34-year-old in 2021.

The Monday after winning his seventh Nitto ATP Finals, Djokovic began his historic 400th week atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Only Roger Federer (310 weeks) has also eclipsed the 300-weeks milestone. Djokovic tied Federer for the most year-end finishes in the Top 3 with 15. This is Djokovic’s 402nd week atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and he is guaranteed to remain No. 1 through the week of 22 January.

The winner of a Tour-leading seven titles this season, Djokovic held the top spot for 28 weeks across four stints. He first returned to No. 1 after winning the Australian Open, less than three months after falling to No. 8. The top spot switched seven times in 2023 between Djokovic and Alcaraz, the most No. 1 changes since 2018, when there were also seven. The only years in which it switched more often were 1983 (10) and 1999 (8). 

The man he exchanged No. 1 with throughout the year, Alcaraz, finished in the year-end Top 2 for the second consecutive year. Twenty-year-old Holger Rune ended the season at No. 8. It is the first time two players aged 20 or younger completed a year in the Top 10 since 20-year-old Marat Safin (No. 2) and 19-year-old Lleyton Hewitt (No. 7) in 2000.

Rune is the lone new face in the year-end Top 10 after climbing to a career-high No. 4 in August. He is the first Danish player in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history (since 1973) to finish in the year-end Top 10.

Frances Tiafoe was the only player in 2023 who cracked the Top 10 for the first time when he ascended to No. 10 in June. It is the second consecutive season in which an American made his Top 10 debut. Taylor Fritz did so last year and has now finished in the Top 10 for two consecutive years.

Nine of the players in the year-end Top 10 are aged 27 or under, with an average age of just older than 25. The 22-year-old Jannik Sinner, at a career-high No. 4, joins Alcaraz and Rune to make a trio of Top 10 players aged 22 and under.

It is the first time three 22-and-under players have finished in the year-end Top 10 since 2009, when 22-year-old Djokovic (No. 3), 22-year-old Andy Murray (No. 4) and 21-year-old Juan Martin del Potro (No. 5) did it.


1) Novak Djokovic – Earns record-extending eighth ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone and leads ATP Tour with seven titles.

2) Carlos Alcaraz – Finishes in the Top 2 for the second consecutive year, wins second major title at Wimbledon.

3) Daniil Medvedev – Finishes in year-end Top 3 for the second time in three years.

4) Jannik Sinner – Climbs to career-high No. 4, claimed maiden ATP Masters 1000 trophy in Toronto.

5) Andrey Rublev – Finishes in Top 5 after winning first ATP Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo.

6) Stefanos Tsitsipas – Earns fifth straight year-end Top 10 finish.

7) Alexander Zverev – Returns to the Top 10 after suffering a devastating ankle injury in June 2022.

8) Holger Rune – After reaching career-high No. 4, qualified for Nitto ATP Finals for the first time.

9) Hubert Hurkacz – Finishes in year-end Top 10 for third straight year after leading the Tour in aces (1,031).

10) Taylor Fritz – No. 1 American won both finals played, secures second Top 10 finish.

2023 Year-End Pepperstone ATP Rankings Quick Facts

  • 504 spots jumped by Alex Michelsen – most in year-end Top 100 (No. 601 in 2022 to No. 97 in 2023).
  • 213 spots jumped by Arthur Fils – most in year-end Top 50 (No. 249 in 2022 to No. 36 in 2023).
  • 38-year-old Stan Wawrinka is oldest player in year-end Top 100 at No. 50. The Swiss entered the 2023 season at No. 148.
  • Three teens finished inside the year-end Top 100, all of whom competed in the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM: 19-year-olds Fils (No. 36), Luca Van Assche (No. 71) and Alex Michelsen (No. 97).
  • With Fils and Van Assche, it is the first time two French teens have ended a year in the Top 100 since Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils, both then 19, in 2005.
  • Six players climbed at least 100 places to finish in the year-end Top 50: Fils (+213), Max Purcell (+178), Sebastian Ofner (+152), Nicolas Jarry (+134), Jan-Lennard Struff (+126) and Alexander Shevchenko (+106).
  • 21 players 30-and-older finished in the Top 100 (25 in 2022, 31 in 2021, 40 in 2020).
  • 16 players 25-and-under in Top 30 for the second consecutive year. It is the highest mark since 17 in 2008.
  • Nine players in year-end Top 10 have competed in or qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM in their careers.
  • 10 players from the United States in year-end Top 100 – the most of any country. Two of the players, Christopher Eubanks and Michelsen, cracked the Top 100 in 2023.

The 2024 ATP Tour season begins on 29 December 2023 with the 18-country United Cup, which will take place across Australia in Perth and Sydney.

View Full 2023 Year-End Pepperstone ATP Rankings

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