Purcell's solo gamble pays off with triple triumphs
Max Purcell has earned an instant reward for going it alone on the tennis court by shooting straight into the world's top 100 on the back of three straight tournament triumphs in a remarkable Indian odyssey.
Three weeks ago, Wimbledon champion Purcell, who's put his successful doubles career on hold while deciding to concentrate on singles, was ranked No.203 in the world as he trekked off seeking ranking points at a second-level ATP Challenger tournament in Chennai.
Not only did he win that competition, but the 24-year-old Sydneysider then stayed on to win another Challenger event in Bengalaru the following week, before going on to complete a rare hat-trick by winning the final of a third straight event in Pune on Sunday.
His 6-3 6-2 victory over rising Italian Luca Nardi in the final of the PMR Open was Purcell's 15th match win in a row, which had all been carved out in baking hot conditions, and it's transported him to No.95 in the latest ATP rankings announced on Monday.
It might not have compared with the extraordinary achievement on the main tour of Daniil Medvedev, who also won his third tournament in a row in Dubai at the weekend, but Challengers can be seriously tough to win in their own right.
"I was just locked in," Purcell told reporters in India. "I just wanted to win every single point when I stepped on the court, and had a kind of a goal that I was working towards with the top 100."
His idea had been to make the top-100 as soon as possible this year, but the treble, which surprised even himself, have fast-tracked his ambition.
Now inside the top 100 for the first time, Purcell, who started the year at No.220, is already enjoying the fruits of his gamble to give up his successful doubles career with Matt Ebden, with whom he won at Wimbledon last year, and test himself full-time in singles.
"I just wanna play singles, man. I am 24 years old," Purcell smiled, when asked about why he'd made the switch.
"I'm at that point where I can't waste these years when I'm young and want to be playing singles," added Purcell, who says he'll always be able to return to the doubles world later in his career.
So, on a day when Alex de Minaur re-entered the world's top-20 at No. 18 after his career-best Mexican Open triumph, there are now seven Australian men in the top 100.
Purcell (No.95) is the seventh-ranked Australian behind Thanasi Kokkinakis (94), Jordan Thompson (87), Chris O'Connell (86), Jason Kubler (75), Nick Kyrgios (22) and de Minaur (18).