17 Years Later: Murray Records Historic Triumph at ATP Challenger Event

17 Years Later: Murray Records Historic Triumph at ATP Challenger Event

by Balasz Virag

Last last updated

Andy Murray rewrote history books on Sunday afternoon in Aix-En-Provence in France when he lifted the ATP Challenger trophy.

It's been a great week for the former world no. 1, who was on a 4-match losing streak before entering the event, and even considered skipping the clay-court part of the season this year altogether.

However, Murray made a decision to accept a wild card for the ATP Challenger event in Aix-En-Provence and it was a great decision. In the first four matches that led up to the final, he faced only French players and defeated all home heroes before setting up his first final on the red dirt in seven years.

It was the first one for Murray since the 2016 Roland Garros, but there were more reasons why the final match against Tommy Paul from the United States was so important. It was 17 years and 9 months since the Scot won his first ATP Challenger title and he was on the verge of making history in France.

That's because up till the final match in Aix-En-Provence, David Ferrer held a record for the biggest gap between the first and last ATP Challenger title, when he triumphed in August 2001 and then in October 2018, with 17 years and 2 months in between.

In Murray's case, the first ATP Challenger triumph came in August 2005 and the final in the French city was played 17 years and 9 months later, meaning he had a chance to surpass the Spaniard's record.

But he didn't start well against Paul. The first four games were a great example of not catching the start of the match and the American quickly led 4-0 in the opening set. After two more comfortable service games he won the first set 6-2 and Murray's dream was falling apart.

But known for his fighting spirit, he never gave up. Probably a small change in the tactics saw a lot of success and the three-time Grand Slam champion managed to break his opponent's first two service games in the second set, the same way he was broken in the opener.

Thanks to that, he was able to win the second set 6-1 and take the match into a decider. The third set was a hard-fought one with many long games going into deuce, but all the break points were Murray's again.

Although he wasn't so ruthless when having a chance to break as in the second set, two breaks were enough for him to win the match 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 and lift his first title since 2019.

It was obvious how happy Murray was, celebrating his triumph with mother Judy and also his coach Mark Hilton, who were supporting him from the stands.


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