Newcombe Medal nominee Purcell a big mover of season 2023
From outside the top 200 early in the year, Max Purcell ends 2023 inside the world's top 50 and as one of six Newcombe Medal nominees.
Building on a breakout Wimbledon doubles crown in 2022 with Matt Ebden, Max Purcell has successfully carried that confidence into his singles this season.
From outside the top 200 in February, the 25-year-old made one of the biggest leaps up the world rankings among his ATP Tour peers to make his top 40 singles debut in October.
The Sydneysider made a decision to focus more on singles in 2023, and it was validated after he contested the main draw at all four majors in a season for the first time and broke new ground for his maiden ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal.
“I felt like I had too much left on the table for singles. Regardless if I was going to make the top 100 or not, I just wanted to kind of give it everything,” Purcell told Australian Tennis Magazine.
“I thought, ‘You know, now’s my time to kind of see how I can go’, so I’m glad it’s all panned out.”
After qualifying for his second Australian Open in January, Purcell went on a tear on the Challenger Tour.
He won 18 straight matches, which included a trio of titles in India – at Chennai, Bengaluru and Pune – and consequently made his top-100 debut.
They were three of six ATP Challenger level finals for Purcell in 2023, but it was on North American hard courts in August where his singles form truly began to shine.
Purcell toppled Felix Auger-Aliassime for the second time in his career at the Toronto Masters, before a stellar streak of five straight wins at the Cincinnati Masters.
As the world No.70, he came through qualifying and went on to deny world No.7 Casper Ruud and three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka, then stretched No.1 Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals.
A week later, he reached the same stage in Winston-Salem, which lifted him within reach of the top 40.
From a season in which he sprung 11 victories over higher-ranked opponents, it was his three-set defeat to Alcaraz that left a mark.
“The loss against Carlos was the one that stood out the most,” Purcell said. “The fact that I went out there and serve-volleyed against the best in the world and actually almost dug it out … it gave me a lot of belief that I can play with these guys, and I can change it up and it rattles them.”
Purcell did not abandon doubles entirely in 2023. He successfully defended his Houston title – this time with Jordan Thompson – and captured the Tokyo ATP 500 trophy alongside another compatriot, Rinky Hijikata, in October. He was also a finalist with Thompson in Atlanta and at Newport with William Blumberg.
Ending the season inside the top 50 in doubles for the fourth successive year, Purcell reprised his major-winning partnership with Matt Ebden in Davis Cup, and the pair went unbeaten in Australia’s run to a second successive final in November.
This is Purcell’s second Newcombe Medal nomination.
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