Andy Murray - Indian Wells 2023

Andy Murray makes history with first ATP Challenger title in 18 years

Andy Murray has made history with an ATP Challenger victory in Aix-En-Provence, breaking a record previously held by David Ferrer.

Murray beat top seed Tommy Paul, 2-6 6-1 6-2, in the final on Sunday to claim his first title of any sort since the European Open in Antwerp four years ago.

The three-time Grand Slam champion decided to drop down the the ATP Challenger scene to gain some match practice, after a disappointing opening round defeat to Andrea Vavassori in the Madrid Open .

While the Challenger scene is generally seen as a lower level than the main ATP tour, the tournament in the south of France had a particularly strong field with the likes of Murray, the Australian Open semi-finalist Tommy Paul and former No.6 Gael Monfils all competing.

Murray had not picked up a win so far on the dirt this season, with straight set losses in the opening rounds of both Monte Carlo and Madrid, but picked up four impressive wins against all French opposition before beating the American in the final.

“This last year, 18 months has been a bit of struggle with my game,” said Murray. “But [my team] have been there supporting me and working with me to try and get better. We keep going from here.”

He continued, “The most important part of this week [was] the fans who came out to support. The atmosphere from the very first match right to the end was incredible. It’s so important for these tournaments to have the support of the local community and you guys came out even before the tournament started.”

“[During] the practice sessions, you were out here watching and supporting. It means a lot to the players, but it’s so important to this event as well.”

Murray’s mum, Judy, who is a renowned tennis coach revealed that she had booked a last minute flight to Marseille to watch her son’s final and claimed it was ‘worth every penny’.

This win takes the British No.3 up to No.42 in the ATP rankings, and Murray will be hoping for a positive result in Rome as he bids to become a seed for Roland Garros.

Andy Murray and his Challenger titles

With Murray’s triumph, he broke the record for most amount of time between ATP Challenger titles.

David Ferrer previously held the record of 17 years and 2 months, but the 35-year-old has trumped that with his last Challenger title coming 17 years and 8 months ago in Binghamton, New York.

Here are all of Murray’s ATP Challenger triumphs:

July 2005 – Murray beat Rajeev Ram, 6-4 6-3 (Aptos, United States)

August 2005 – Murray beat Alejandro Falla, 7-6(3) 6-3 (Binghamton, United States)

May 2023 – Murray beat Tommy Paul, 2-6 6-1 6-2 (Aix En Provence, France)

Murray’s only ever ATP Challenger final defeat came two years ago in Italy, when he lost to Illya Marchenko.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.