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Frenchmen Combine For Record-Breaking 27 Challenger Titles

Arthur Fils’ triumph at the Oeiras Challenger in January was an early sign of what was to come on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2023: Frenchmen building off their countrymen's success as they win Challenger titles.

Despite Fils competing in his first Challenger final in Oeiras, the teen held his nerve, lifting the trophy within 24 hours of Arthur Cazaux winning the Nonthaburi Challenger and Richard Gasquet claiming the ATP 250 in Auckland.

“I saw that overnight Arthur Cazaux did it, I saw that Richard Gasquet did it. I said, ‘Okay you have to win this one!’” Fils said after triumphing in Oeiras.

Players from France collected 27 Challenger titles this year, marking the most titles by a single country in a season. 

Constant Lestienne’s trio of Challenger titles led the way for France, which had 19 players triumph at that level in 2023. The 31-year-old went on a late-season surge earning titles in Stanford, Saint-Tropez and Alicante. Lestienne’s triumph in Alicante steered France clear of Argentina’s then-record 23 Challenger titles, which was set last year.

Constant Lestienne wins the Challenger 125 event in Stanford, California.
Constant Lestienne was the lone Frenchman to earn three Challenger titles in 2023. Credit: Lani-Rae Green
In southwest France, more history was made in March when #NextGenATP star Luca Van Assche saved two championship points against countryman Ugo Humbert to win the Pau Challenger. Van Assche and Humbert battled for three hours, 56 minutes, marking the longest Challenger final in history.

“It was a crazy match, an amazing fight,” Van Assche said. “I’m very happy. A lot of emotions during this match. I was leading, then losing. I was match point up, then match point down. It was a fantastic match with great support from the crowd.”

The following week, Benoit Paire captured his first title at any level since 2019 when he won the Puerto Vallarta Challenger. Paire returned to the winners’ circle in July, overcoming Gasquet in the San Benedetto Del Tronto Challenger final.

Humbert’s standout season included two consecutive Challenger 175 titles. In Cagliari, Italy, the 25-year-old saved three match points against Taro Daniel in a four-hour, 13-minute quarter-final marathon en route to his first clay-court title.

“I will never forget this trophy because I hate clay normally, never won more than two matches in a row on clay,” Humbert said in his post-tournament press conference. “It feels unbelievable to have the trophy.”

The lefty then captured the BNP Paribas Primrose in Bordeaux, marking his return to the Top 40 for the first time since 31 January, 2022. Humbert finished the season at a career-high No. 20.

Five #NextGenATP Frenchmen were among those to add to their home country’s record-breaking season: Atmane, Cazaux, Fils, Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard and Van Assche. Arthur Weber became the oldest player to win a title in his Challenger debut in Zhuhai (31 years, eight months).

List Of French Challenger Champions In 2023
Constant Lestienne (Stanford, Saint-Tropez, Alicante)
Luca Van Assche (Pau, Sanremo)
Benoit Paire (Puerto Vallarta, San Benedetto Del Tronto)
Ugo Humbert (Cagliari, Bordeaux)
Hugo Grenier (Las Franquesas Del Valles, Pozoblanco)
Hugo Gaston (Iasi, Trieste)
Terence Atmane (Zhangjiagang, Guangzhou)
Arthur Cazaux (Nonthaburi)
Arthur Fils (Oeiras)
Gregoire Barrere (Quimper)
Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard (León)
Alexandre Muller (Montechiarugolo)
Quentin Halys (Blois)
Manuel Guinard (Troyes)
Arthur Rinderknech (Zug)
Arthur Weber (Zhuhai)
Ugo Blanchet (Malaga)
Kyrian Jacquet (Olbia)
Corentin Moutet (Helsinki)

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