HOUSTON (Dec. 14, 2022) – Former champion Cristian Garin will return to the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship in 2023, the tournament announced today. When the Chilean won the ATP 250 event on his debut in 2019, he became the first player from his country to win a title in 10 years.
Garin becomes the third former champion to commit to the 2023 event, following defending champion Reilly Opelka and 2013 winner John Isner, who was runner-up to Opelka in 2022.
In his 2019 title run, Garin saved five match points in the second round to upset second seed Jeremy Chardy, then downed eighth seed Sam Querrey in the semifinals and an up-and-coming Caspar Ruud in the final for the first of his five career titles, all coming on clay courts.
“Cristian is an expert on clay and works incredibly hard every single point,” said Tournament Director Bronwyn Greer. “He was a gracious winner and we’re excited to welcome him back to River Oaks in 2023.”
Garin has since reached a career high ranking of No. 17. In the tournament’s return in 2022 for the first time after his victory, he defeated Taylor Fritz to reach the semifinals before falling to fourth seed Isner. Not only successful on the clay court surface, Garin reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal this year on the grass of Wimbledon.
Opelka returns for his sixth U.S. Clay event, while Isner, who will be marking 10 years since his title run, is returning for a record 13th year among active players and second in the Open Era behind Guillermo Vilas’ 14. Isner will be looking to add to his record 18 match wins among active players. In 2022, he served a tournament record 79 aces on his way to setting the all-time ATP Tour career aces record later in the year, ending the season with 13,990. Opelka served 50 aces in the 2022 event, good for ninth on the tournament record list.