Jeremy Chardy enjoyed the best possible start to the grass court season by winning his first title on that surface in Surbiton. The Frenchman defeated Alex de Minaur 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 after one hour and thirty-nine minutes of exceptional tennis.
The match always seemed to be in Chardy’s hands as he held serve with ease, a complete contrast to the Australian who won only 48% of points behind his first serve. The #1 seed from France asserted his authority by taking the opening set and continued to sustain that level the entire match. De Minaur dug deep to break the Chardy serve in the tenth game of the second set and level the match. Despite this blip, normal service was resumed and the Frenchman ran away with it in the decider.
“To win a title is a great feeling,” Chardy told me afterwards, “It was a long time for me without a trophy so I’m really happy.” The 31-year-old’s last singles title came back in 2012, when he was victorious in the Challenger event in Nouméa.
“This week was a really great week for me, I played some really good matches.” The tournament could easily have ended for Chardy in the quarterfinals when Dennis Kudla held a match point against him. However, you should never write the Frenchman off.
When asked how he managed to wrestle back the momentum in his favour after dropping the second set, Chardy replied, “I didn’t change anything. I think I played good the whole match, I stayed focused and continued to play my game.”
Jeremy Chardy has been on tour now for a staggering thirteen years, so he clearly has a wealth of experience and he had to draw upon that Sunday “I had the chance to break at the start of the third set and bring my confidence back.” He did just that and powered his way over the finish line.
The 31-year-old has been in sensational form this week, dropping only two sets, and two aspects of his game really please him: the serve and his movement. “I served really well the whole tournament, I think I only got broken three times all week.” The serve has definitely been a reliable shot for Chardy and it got him out of jail on numerous occasions. The movement was also spectacular.
“I’m really happy with my movement. Normally it is really difficult for me to move on grass but this week I felt good on court.”
With his win Sunday, Jeremy Chardy has now captured Challenger titles on clay, hard, and grass. Throughout his career, the Frenchman has had similar results on each surface and he believes that he is an all court player, “I feel great on all the surfaces. I’ve played second week in every Grand Slam.”
Alex de Minaur was in great form and was yet to drop a set going into the final. Despite a difficult loss, the Australian was able to see the positives, “It’s always bittersweet when you play a great tournament but don’t manage to get it done in the end. I’m very happy with my level throughout the whole week.”
The 19-year-old is an unbelievable athlete who works so hard off the court, it is fair to say that this loss certainly will not discourage him, “It just means I need to get back out there, work harder.”
De Minaur also took a moment to praise his opponent, “Jeremy was too good today. He deserved to win after playing a great third set.” I interviewed the Australian moments after his loss so the wounds were still fresh, but he demonstrated tremendous class in such a tough moment.
Surbiton has been a special tournament for the 19-year-old because his efforts here have guaranteed his spot in the top 100 for the first time in his career. Earlier this year, de Minaur reached his first ATP final in Sydney, so I asked him which week was more memorable for him.
“It’s different, in Sydney that was in my home town. That’s always going to be very special to me. Here it was a different kind of special. I played some great tennis on a surface that I love and I cracked the top 100 for the first time, so it’s probably on par [with my week in Sydney].”
Alex de Minaur will next be competing in the Nottingham Challenger, where he is the #2 seed. The Australian looks to get as many grass matches under his belt as possible, before potentially making his Wimbledon debut with the help of a few withdrawals, “At this time, I am two outside of main draw so hopefully with a couple of pull outs I’ll be at Wimbledon.”
Moreover, Jeremy Chardy will not get his well deserved rest after playing ten sets of clay court tennis in Paris last week, and then another twelve this week, “I’m going to travel tomorrow morning and I will play Tuesday, so it’s not a lot of rest.”
Chardy will be travelling to Holland to take part in the Libema Open and he has high hopes for the next week, “I will try to keep this confidence next week and I will try to continue to win matches.”
The 2018 Surbiton champion will climb up to #72 in the world rankings on Monday but he does not want to stop there, “I want to be back in the top fifty.” After his perfect start to the grass season, Jeremy Chardy might achieve that quite soon.
The Fuzion 100 Surbiton Trophy is over for another year and the fans have been treated to some top class tennis from some of the best in the world. Congratulations to the ATP’s first grass court titlest of 2018, Jeremy Chardy.