Chapeau! Cherbourg Challenger Celebrates thirtieth Anniversary | ATP Tour | Tennis

Anytime there’s an ATP Challenger Tour occasion in France, the native followers flock to observe world-class tennis. The Cherbourg Challenger, which is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this week, is a working example.

The longest-running French Challenger has been a staple {of professional} tennis for 3 many years. Year after 12 months, spectators have loved seeing among the sport’s stars earlier than they grew to become family names.

The Challenger Cherbourg La Manche can be the longest-running indoor Challenger and has featured previous champions akin to former World No. 4 Sebastien Grosjean [1999 champion] and 2017 Nitto ATP Finals winner Grigor Dimitrov [2011]. In 2003, Rafael Nadal was a finalist (l. Sergio Roitman) simply two years previous to profitable his first Grand Slam title simply three hours east in Paris.

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That’s what the Challenger Tour has taken satisfaction in its 45-year historical past: Providing tournaments for younger stars to realize professional expertise and develop their abilities all whereas competing for factors and prize cash.

There are not any handouts on Tour. Hard work is required as gamers journey weekly the world over. Even Novak Djokovic labored his means by means of the Challenger circuit, together with in Cherbourg, the place he reached the semi-finals in 2005. Now, the Serbian is a 22-time main champion.

The Challenger Cherbourg La Manche is the seventh-longest-running Challenger event. The organisers, Alain and Anthony Thiebot, take nice satisfaction of their constant presence on the Challenger Tour. Alain based the occasion and initially directed the event till his son Anthony took over in 2020. Alain remains to be closely concerned in working the event to this present day.

“More than 30 years ago, the French Tennis Federation called my father because there was the need to create a Challenger Tour event to help in the lead up of the Paris-Bercy Masters 1000 tournament,” Anthony advised “In just a few months, my father gathered a team and he organised the first edition of the Challenger Cherbourg La Manche. The team was composed of volunteers, friends and family. As everyone enjoyed the experience, we decided to continue year after year.”

When requested about what has saved this event working for a trio of many years, Anthony was clear: exhausting work, relationships, and reminiscences remodeled the previous 30 years.

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“I think that the main motivation is for the volunteers working at the event, because we like to stay together and reunite during the lead-up and the event itself,” Thiebot mentioned. “We know it’s actually exhausting work within the months previous to the start of the event, however we expertise so many good moments in the course of the event that we actually wish to proceed 12 months after 12 months.

“The friendship with the players over the years, for example with Kenny De Schepper, who is in his 15th edition, or Alexandre Sidorenko, who participated for 14 times. My father once said that Alexandre is like a second son to him. I have no siblings but I always dreamed to have a sister or a brother. Eventually with Alexandre we now call each other ‘bro’. It’s a special bond you develop with the players and to see them grow, both on and off the tennis court, is so special.”

Challenger Tour Colleagues Extend Their Congratulations

Vancouver Challenger event director Rik De Voest, who received Cherbourg in 2005: “Congratulations to Cherbourg Challenger on their thirtieth anniversary of offering world-class tennis to their neighborhood, a formidable achievement. As a former participant of the occasion, my first ever match expertise in Cherbourg was in 2003 and was towards a younger participant by the identify of Rafa Nadal! I misplaced in three units. I had success in doubles that 12 months, profitable the title by saving I imagine near seven match factors within the ultimate.

“I returned in 2005, arriving late on Tuesday (attributable to taking part in in a ultimate the week earlier than), with out too many expectations. I might go on to win the singles title, my first Challenger singles title. You all the time keep in mind your first title, and this one holds a particular place for me, and allowed me to ascertain myself on the Challenger tour.

“From one tournament director to another, I wanted to wish Anthony Thiebot and his team continued success in their long-standing, established event.”

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Former World No. 10 and 2009 Cherbourg champion, Arnaud Clement, who’s now event director of the Aix-en-Provence Challenger: “I have many very good memories at the historic Cherbourg challenger, where I won my one and only Challenger title. I congratulate the longtime tournament director Alain Thiebot, for these 30 editions and to Anthony Thiebot for taking over as director. I wish a long life to the Cherbourg Challenger!”

Frenchman Alexandre Sidorenko, who reached a career-high 145 and is a longtime good friend of the Thiebot household: “I first played here in 2003, when I had a wild card in qualies. The tournament director, Alain, was one of my sponsors. We had a good relationship after that. I also played doubles with his son Anthony. Since that, I came back every year. The tournament helped me get a lot of experience. And our families became great friends over the years. As soon as I retired, I kept helping them with the organisation of the event. We are like a family and I’m always happy to come back here. It’s very special.”

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