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Spaniards Lopez, Andujar Among 2023 Retirees

  • Posted: Dec 16, 2023

Spaniards Lopez, Andujar Among 2023 Retirees

Cabal/Farah bow out as a duo

As we continue our review of the 2023 ATP Tour season, we look back at some of the biggest names who called time on their playing careers this year. Spaniards Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Andujar lead Part 1 of this story, with Americans John Isner and Jack Sock to feature in Part 2 tomorrow.

Feliciano Lopez
One of the longest careers in the history of the ATP Tour reached its conclusion when Lopez said goodbye to the circuit at age 41, after 26 seasons as a professional. The former World No. 12 played his final tournament on home soil at the Mallorca Championships.

“I feel very proud of having been able to make it through [more than] 20 years as a professional without missing one, but also of having left a good impression on my fellow players and on the people I have spent time with,” he said.

It was a fitting finale on the grass courts of Mallorca, with Lopez’s 87 tour-level wins on the surface the most of any Spaniard. He also enjoyed what he called his “best week” on the ATP Tour on grass, when he was crowned champion in both singles and doubles at the Cinch Championships at The Queen’s Club in 2019. The former World No. 12 ended 2002-20 in the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Read Lopez Tribute

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Pablo Andujar
Andujar also closed his career on Spanish soil, bowing out at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Valencia in November. The four-time tour-level champion was sent off with an emotional tribute after retiring at the age of 37, with more than 400 tour-level matches under his belt.

The Spaniard peaked at No. 32 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 2015, after which he overcame three elbow operations to ultimately return to the Top 50 in 2019. He is now a Player Representative on the ATP Board of Directors.

“I used to watch all the tournaments as a boy and I always thought I could compete in them,” he said. “The fact that I was able to compete in them means my dream came true.” Read Andujar Tribute

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Photo: Copa Faulcombridge

Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah
Even retirement couldn’t separate these lifelong friends and longtime doubles partners. Cabal (37) and Farah (36) jointly announced their decision to retire in August, competing at the US Open and earning a farewell win for Colombia in Davis Cup before signing off.

“We feel like we’re doing the right thing. It’s a difficult moment,” said Cabal. “We’ve been playing this sport for 30 years, dreaming of life at the top. It’s hard to say goodbye, but everything comes to an end, and this is a good point, we feel it is a good moment. It’s not because of the results. It’s because of the time for each of us.”

Together, the duo won 19 tour-level titles, including two Grand Slam championships. They became the World No. 1 doubles team in 2019. Read Cabal/Farah Tribute.

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Photo: James Chance/Getty Images

Peter Gojowczyk
Gojowczyk closed his 18-year career in Metz, where he won his lone tour-level title as a qualifier in 2017.

The 34-year-old German reached the Top 40 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 2018, when he reached two tour-level finals and notched 23 wins. His biggest Grand Slam result was a fourth-round run as a qualifier at the 2021 US Open, where he pushed Carlos Alcaraz to a fifth set.

“My time as a tennis pro was filled with incredible moments, challenges, and unforgettable experiences — both on and off the court,” Gojowczyk told “I will cherish these memories forever.” Read Gojowczyk Tribute.

Guido Pella
Pella, a former Top 20 player, played his final tournament at the US Open — after which he  took his entire family on a holiday to Disneyland.

The 33-year-old Argentine’s biggest triumphs include winning the 2016 Davis Cup title with his country and the 2019 Sao Paulo singles crown. He reached four additional tour-level finals as well as the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2019.

“It was an incredible journey, with so many amazing things that allowed me to experience moments that most people can’t and for that I’m eternally grateful,” he wrote on social media. Read Pella Tribute.

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Photo: Cordoba Open

Pedro Sousa
Portugal’s Sousa put a bow on his professional career at his home club, at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Lisbon. The 35-year-old won eight Challenger crowns in his career and is one of four Portuguese men to crack the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in the past decade.

“I’m happy and proud of my career and have no regrets,” he said. “Most people don’t know the struggles we go through; it’s a very tough career. I’ve made some mistakes of course, but I’m happy with my achievements.” Read Sousa Tribute.

Malek Jaziri
Jaziri’s career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 42 is the highest ranking ever achieved by a Tunisian. His final match came an an ATP Challenger Tour event in his home nation in May, bringing an end to a 20-year career that included more than 100 tour-level wins.

“This is the end of a career as a tennis player and hopefully we have a good career and success in life after tennis as well,” he said after being honoured at the Nitto ATP Finals. “Tennis gave me a lot of opportunities and I’m very glad to be part of the ATP family.” Read More.

Read all stories in our Best Of 2023 review.

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Mensik, Nishikori Among Five Challenger Player Storylines From 2023

  • Posted: Dec 16, 2023

Mensik, Nishikori Among Five Challenger Player Storylines From 2023

#NextGenATP Shelbayh makes history

Throughout 196 ATP Challenger Tour events held worldwide in 2023, fans had the opportunity to discover young superstars, witness the comeback of experienced tour veterans and see historic runs before their eyes. highlights five player storylines from the ATP Challenger Tour season.

Teenager Mensik Makes History
At 17 years, eight months, Jakub Mensik won the Prague Challenger to become the youngest Czech Challenger champion in history. In just his sixth Challenger outing, the teen completed a dream week, saving two match points in the quarter-finals two days before lifting the trophy.

The 2022 Australian Open boys’ singles finalist joined elite company, becoming one of five 17-year-old Challenger titlists in the past five years, alongside Jannik Sinner (2019), Carlos Alcaraz (2020), Shang Juncheng (2022). The only previous 17-year-old Czech champion was former World No. 4 Tomas Berdych, who captured two Challenger titles in 2003.

“I knew I could play with those guys, but I didn’t have the experience. After a few tournaments, I really started to trust myself and play my best game,” Mensik told in June. “In Prague, that tournament I felt very special on court. From the start, I beat the top seed [Radu Albot] and after that match, I was like, ‘Let’s continue’. Match by match, I felt more comfortable on the court. Then in a few days I became a champion. I felt very special and it was a very good experience for me. After losing in first rounds and qualifying rounds, I think it was faster than I expected.”

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Comeback Kei
Despite a 20-month absence from the tour, Kei Nishikori did not miss a beat. The 33-year-old was crowned champion at the ATP Challenger Tour 75 event in Palmas del Mar, Puerto Rico, his first tournament since the BNP Paribas Open in October 2021.

The former World No. 4, who underwent arthroscopic left hip surgery last year, dropped just one set en route to the title and became the first unranked Challenger champion. Nishikori was in vintage form throughout the hard-court event, displaying all-court coverage and clean ball-striking to earn his first trophy at any level since 2018.

“That was surprising a lot. I was just expecting to just play one match and just kind of get a rhythm for it,” Nishikori said. “Somehow I played good in the first match and started getting more confident every match. In the final, I think I played pretty good tennis.”

Jordan’s First Challenger Champion
Abdullah Shelbayh became the first player from Jordan to win an ATP Challenger Tour title in October when he won the LTP Challenger in Charleston, South Carolina. The-then 18-year-old is the youngest player from an Arab country to win a title at that level.

The lefty, who graduated from the Rafa Nadal Academy in 2021, was a wild card into the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM.

“It’s something special for me to represent Jordan at such tournaments at a high level. Being able to win such a great event is such a big title for me, the biggest of my career so far,” Shelbayh said after winning in Charleston.

Purcell’s Indian Hat-trick
Australian Max Purcell went on a three-week trip to India in February with two things in mind: winning ATP Challenger Tour matches and spending less time on his cell phone.

The 24-year-old then went on a 15-match winning streak, triumphing at the Chennai, Bengaluru, and Pune Challengers. While he was enjoying a hot streak that helped him make his Top 100 debut, his phone was left cold in the hotel room.

“I made the choice to stop with distractions off court,” Purcell said. “Especially through India, I wanted to be off my phone as much as I could. I wanted to make sure I was getting as much quiet time as I could and just make sure going into my matches that I didn’t bring anything else on the court.”

The Sydney native is the only Australian to claim three consecutive Challenger titles.

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De Loore Rebuilds Body, Wins Maiden Challenger Title
Belgian Joris De Loore has battled through a plethora of injuries, which forced him to hang up his racquets for two years (2019-2020). Throughout a seven-year span, the 30-year-old underwent seven surgeries on six different body parts. But De Loore never threw in the towel.

In his first tournament of 2023, De Loore advanced through qualifying at the Oeiras-1 Challenger and went on to capture the trophy. He finished the year with three additional final appearances.

“I want to prove that I’m able to reach the Top 100,” said De Loore, who is at No. 145 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. “I still feel capable of it, doesn’t mean I’m going to make it for sure, but I still have the game to do it.”

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Organisers Confirm 2024 Mexican ATP 500 Will Proceed In Acapulco

  • Posted: Dec 16, 2023

Organisers Confirm 2024 Mexican ATP 500 Will Proceed In Acapulco

Hurrican caused significant damage to Acapulco in October

In October, Hurricane Otis caused devastating damage in Acapulco, including to the venue of the city’s ATP 500 event, the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC. But tournament organisers confirmed Thursday that the 2024 edition of the tournament will proceed in Acapulco.

“With great enthusiasm and optimism, we are pleased to announce that the Telcel Mexican Open presented by HSBC will take place in Acapulco, from February 24 to March 2, 2024,” tournament organisers wrote. “This event marks a significant milestone in the reconstruction and revitalisation of this emblematic city. By holding the tournament in Acapulco, we not only promote tennis, but we also generate a positive impact on the local economy and the community, providing vitality to sectors such as tourism, transportation, gastronomy and hospitality, including job creation in the region. 

“With this celebration, we reaffirm to the world that Acapulco is open and standing.”

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Organisers made clear in their announcement that the tournament does not just celebrate tennis, but a wider camaraderie among Mexicans, who are rebuilding from the damage caused by the hurricane.

Tournament Director Álvaro Falla said: “We express our recognition and gratitude to the great work and support of the people of Guerrero, to the public that has purchased tickets, to all our sponsors for their continued support, and to tennis led by the ATP.”  

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