Ugo Humbert entered 2023 after a very difficult 2022 season. The Frenchman lost 21 of his 30 ATP matches and slipped to No. 87 in the world, which was more than 50 places lower than his year-end ranking in 2021. However, Humbert’s fortunes changed dramatically in 2023. This article provides the highs and lows of his season.
Ugo Humbert 2023 Season Review
The biggest high of Humbert’s season came in his final tournament of 2023 at the Moselle Open. Backed by a home crowd, the Frenchman won a high-quality opening match against 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem in a decider. He followed that with more straightforward victories against Harold Mayot and Italian veteran Fabio Fognini in the quarterfinal and semifinal. The home favourite then battled Alexander Shevchenko for the title. Humbert was clinical in the big moments of the final to win 6-3 6-3. It was the 25-year-old’s fourth ATP title and a first in over two years.
Humbert also equaled his best result at the Masters 1000 level by reaching a second quarterfinal. This came at the Shanghai Masters. His run included an epic 6-4 3-6 7-5 second-round victory against Australian Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas. He then demolished JJ Wolf in the third round but succumbed to Andrey Rublev 2-6 3-6 in the quarterfinal.
At the Grand Slams, Humbert had a career-best run to the third round of the Australian Open. He defeated compatriot Richard Gasquet in the opening round, who had won the Auckland title a few days previously. A four-set triumph over American Denis Kudla set up a meeting with next-gen star Holger Rune. Unfortunately, the ninth seed proved too strong and overcame Humbert in straight sets. Humbert also won his first-ever match at the French Open by beating compatriot Adrian Mannarino to make the second round.
The Frenchman had many other solid results throughout the season. He reached the semifinals in Newport, Atlanta, and Basel, as well as the quarterfinals in Beijing and Washington. Humbert also found success on the ATP Challenger Tour. The 13-time Challenger finalist won titles in Bordeaux and in Cagliari. An additional final was made in Pau.
Humbert will be disappointed by early exits at Wimbledon and the US Open. He progressed to the fourth-round at SW19 in 2019, but fell in the first-round this year to Jason Kubler. It was a dramatic contest, but one the Frenchman lost 4-6 6-4 2-6 6-3 3-6. The four-time ATP title winner was beaten far more comprehensively at the US Open. He was swept aside 4-6 2-6 2-6 by Matteo Berrettini.
Humbert is also likely to be frustrated by a lack of ATP Tour success outside of hardcourts. He only managed one win in six ATP main draw clay court matches, with the dirt continuing to be the surface he struggles on the most. The Moselle Open winner also had a losing 3-4 record on grass. This compares to a 29-14 record on hardcourts in 2023. However, his run to the semifinal in Newport was on grass, and his two Challenger Tour titles were on clay. Hence, future successes on those surfaces will not come as a surprise, especially on grass, which is a surface he has excelled on in the past.
Overall, 2023 was the best year of Humbert’s career. He recorded his most match wins in a season, ended the year inside the Top 20 for the first time and is the highest-ranked Frenchman. Can the 25-year-old go even further in 2024? It will be fascinating to watch his progress.
Main Photo Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran – USA TODAY Sports