Sometimes, the good guys win – not that Pablo Andujar’s opponent in the Marrakech final Sunday, Kyle Edmund, isn’t a good guy himself.
But the victory by the 32-year-old Spaniard – his third career title in Marrakech – completes a long slog of a comeback after three elbow surgeries.
Andujar defeated Edmund 6-2, 6-2 to complete a double over the last two weeks.
He won a Challenger in Alicante, Spain last Sunday, traveled to Morocco and kept the momentum going in impressive style.
He came “home”, and will leave with the trophy.
“I don’t have words for your support. Each time I come here, I’m like at home, you make me feel like I’m at home. A thousand times thank you to everyone,” Andujar said in French, during a trophy presentation in which he spoke three languages.
It took Andujar about 10 months after his third elbow surgery in 13 months to finally post a victory on the ATP Tour.
But then, another setback. In his next match, against Dominic Thiem of Austria, he was forced to retire with a shoulder problem and missed another six weeks on court.
Shoulder just a bump in the road
Andujar returned at the end of March and in his second week back, he won five matches – three of them in three sets – to win the Ferrero Challenger Open.
Pablo Andújar se reencuentra con la victoria en el primer Challenger de Alicante
— Tenis España (@spaintenis) April 7, 2018
Right to Marrakech, where the former No. 32 lost just one set on his way to the title. With his opponents having helped pave the way by eliminating top seed Albert Ramos-Viñolas and No. 7 Alexandr Dolgopolov (himself coming back from injury), it was a smooth path.
Andujar’s ranking when he arrived in Rio in February was … No. 1821. With his efforts the last two weeks, he’ll land just outside the top 150 on Monday. And, if he keeps it up, no longer will need to use his protected ranking of No. 105 to enter tournaments in short order.
At No. 355 this week, Andujar is the ATP Tour title winner with the lowest ranking in 20 years, since a teenaged Lleyton Hewitt won Adelaide when he was ranked No. 550.
And his efforts may well earn him wild cards at a couple of big ATP Tour events coming up in his homeland, in Barcelona and Madrid.
Andujar’s parents were on hand to see him take the title Sunday. But he had a special thanks for two more back at home.
“I dedicate this triumph to my son, to my wife, my parents, my physio and my coach. It truly has been two very tough years for me,” he said. “I hope to come back next year – if I’m still around.”
The news of his victory led to a number of congratulatory Tweets.
— Pablo Cuevas (@PabloCuevas22) April 15, 2018
@AndujarPablo que bien!!!!! merecido trofeo!! 🏆🏆
— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) April 15, 2018
Sencillamente ESPECTACULAR lo que ha hecho @AndujarPablo 🙈Después de mas de dos años lesionado gana un challenger y un Atp250 seguidos!
Enhorabuena es poco💪🏻🎾✌️
— Feliciano López (@feliciano_lopez) April 15, 2018
@AndujarPablo bravo pour ton titre!!! Quel exemple après tes blessures!! Enjoy 🎊👏🏻🎾🇪🇸
— Paul Henri Mathieu (@PHMofficiel) April 15, 2018
Felicidades @AndujarPablo por el torneo en marrakech. Merecido triunfo al trabajo y constancia después de años de lesión. Mereces y mucho esa sensación después de tanto sufrimiento. BRAVO! pic.twitter.com/pJIQDg8YU3
— Guillermo García (@GuillermoGLopez) April 15, 2018
(Screenshots from TennisTV)