Gael Monfils became the oldest champion in the history of the BNP Paribas Nordic Open on Sunday when he overcame qualifier Pavel Kotov 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 to win his first title of the season in Stockholm.
The 37-year-old demonstrated great athletiscm to hang in points against Kotov, who was the first qualifier to reach a tour-level final since Jiri Vesely in Dubai in 2022. The Frenchman stood deep behind the baseline throughout the two-hour, 35-minute clash to absorb Kotov’s power, while he demonstrated great touch to disrupt his opponent’s rhythm in the pair’s first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting.
"Credit to Pavel," Monfils said. "He has had an unbelivable week and he was pushing me on the court. I ran a lot today. When I had to save break points in the second set, I tried to push through. I don't know how I pulled up but I kept believing and fighting."
Monfils arrived in Stockholm at No. 140 Pepperstone ATP Rankings after struggling with injuries in the first half of the season. Fully fit again, he dropped just two sets en route to his 12th tour-level trophy, becoming the lowest-ranked tour-level champion since then-World No. 152 Borna Coric won his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati in 2022.
The Frenchman, who is up to No. 89 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, is just the fourth player above the age of 37 to win an ATP Tour title since 1990, joining Roger Federer, Ivo Karlovic and Feliciano Lopez.
Kotov was aiming to win his first tour-level title on Sunday. The 24-year-old, who was competing in his maiden final at this level, is up 28 spots to No. 81 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings following his dream run.
Did You Know?
Monfils has triumphed in Stockholm twice, having won the title at the ATP 250 event in 2011. He is the 11th player to win the trophy twice, with his 12-year gap between titles the biggest in history.