Professionals take centre stage at two world class tennis academies


Last week saw the ATP Challenger Tour hit the clay with tournaments at two of Europe’s leading tennis academies with both events producing inspirational results


Mouratoglou Open (Sophia Antipolis, France)

Patrick Mouratoglou is probably best known as the coach to the greatest female player of all time, Serena Williams, but within the professional game Patrick is also renowned for producing some of the World’s top players through his incredible academy in the south of France.

This year the ATP Challenger Tour stopped off at the Academy to play a $25k tournament with 90 ATP ranking points and €9,200 on offer to the winner. The draw was very strong partly because there were no main ATP Tour events being hosted that week but also because the clay court season is now truly under way and many tour players are looking for plenty of match practise to help find their feet on the red dirt of Europe.

The top seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert fell in the 3rd round whereas the 2nd seed, Robin Haase, didn’t even last that long falling to eventual winner Dustin Brown in his first match. Brown went on to triumph in the tournament beating 5th seeded Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 7-5 in the final.

Along the way Brown exhibited the full array of incredible shot making that he has long been renowned. After the match when asked what he would do now he replied with typical laid back honesty: “I’m going to have a couple beers, take a bath and stay up all night watching some TV series so that this day never ends.”



Ferrero Challenger Open (Villena, Spain)

Former World No.1 and French Open Champion Juan Carlos Ferrero retired from tennis to follow his passion of training and supporting some of the world’s best up and coming youngsters. He would have been delighted to see one of his protege’s, Carlos Alcaraz, record his first ever win on the professional ATP Tour at the tender age of 15. This is a new record for the 4th youngest player to win a match on tour and ranks Alcaraz as the first winner on tour born in 2003. Quite a record.

The Ferrero Academy played host to a number of highly ranked players all chasing the €6,190 winners cheque and the 80 ATP ranking points on offer. But it wasn’t the money that enticed such as a strong draw but more the opportunity to practise on the red clay at the start of the all important clay court season.

Top seed Pablo Andujar secured the title the hard way after beating fellow spaniard Pedro Martinez in a 3 set final. Only a year ago Andujar’s ranking had dropped to 600 in the world but he’s now fought his way back to No.70 thanks to of an incredible winning run and victories in consecutive tournaments in Marbella and then Villena.



Results from the Mourtagolou Open

Results from the Ferrero Challenger Open

Look ahead to 2019 with our guide to every tournament on the ATP Tour, the WTA Tour and the ITF Tour

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.