A winning streak that began in Nottingham in April made British doubles duo Henry Patten and Julian Cash among the most successful tennis players of the year.

The duo claimed 14 titles together in 2022 and 33 between them, setting a new record for a season of 10 trophies on the second tier Challenger Tour.

All those have come since June and six since the beginning of October, a run where they won 25 matches and lost only one, ending with a title in Maia, Portugal two weeks ago.

“It’s pretty cool,” Cash told the PA news agency of the record. “Nothing we thought about, it kind of crept up on us. We’d won I think five or six and we were starting to think, ‘Oh, that’s a decent number’.

“Then eight came and it was like, ‘We’ve matched the record’, and we had two weeks left so we thought we might as well try and break it. A cool thing to have, a nice little reward after such a long trip.”

They began their streak with three titles back-to-back in Nottingham on the International Tennis Federation Tour and are among the biggest beneficiaries of the Lawn Tennis Association’s investment in a vastly increased domestic calendar.

Having been criticised for not matching the likes of Italy, Spain and France by providing significant opportunities for players to compete at home, in 2022 the LTA doubled the number of events it staged to 16 each for men and women on the ITF Tour as well as the traditional grass-court tournaments and a ramped up junior programme.

Following their Nottingham success, Patten and Cash went on to win their first Challenger titles in Surbiton and Ilkley, and Patten said: “That’s kind of where it all started for us. Those Challengers gave us a lot of belief and showed us that we were on the right path and that the partnership had a lot of potential.”

Statistics released to PA by the LTA show the benefits of the increase in tournaments.

The number of British players competing in ITF main draws at home increased by more than 160 per cent, while almost half the prize money – approximately £336,000 – went to British competitors.

British players also saw significant boosts to their rankings thanks to the opportunities, with 66 per cent of the points available in the men’s tournaments going to Britons and 33 per cent in the women’s events, both sizeable increases.

Leading the pack were Alastair Gray and Sonay Kartal, who won seven titles between them.

Twenty-one-year-old Kartal was Emma Raducanu’s main junior rival before injuries disrupted her progress but 2022 has seen her leap from 864 in the rankings to 207.

She made her debut at Wimbledon and also played in qualifying at the US Open after winning four titles at home in the early part of the year.

“Being able to have the wild cards to play the home tournaments was definitely why I jumped so fast,” said Kartal.

“It made my life a lot easier. I played those four weeks and I shot up about 500 spots. It was crazy how fast things were going.”

Sonay Kartal made her Wimbledon debut in June
Sonay Kartal made her Wimbledon debut in June (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Gray, 24, has more than halved his ranking from 522 to 268, winning titles in Shrewsbury, Glasgow and Nottingham and upsetting top-100 opponent Tseng Chun-hsin in the first round at Wimbledon.

He highlighted the sense of camaraderie within British tennis that home tournaments have helped foster, while reducing travel costs makes a huge difference at the lower levels where prize money can be negligible.

Gray said: “It’s pretty lonely so to have good friends in British tennis is very nice, and the fact we all want each other to do really well – and genuinely want each other to do really well – is great.

“I think that’s helping elevate everyone. There’s a general feeling that a lot of people are on the edge of breaking through at all levels.”

In total, British players in senior, junior and wheelchair international competitions won a record 422 titles this year, and the LTA has committed to staging a similar number of domestic tournaments in 2023.

While strength in depth still needs to increase at the top level – Britain has six singles players in the top 100 and six more between 100 and 200 – 2022 has certainly seen a positive trend.

Kartal hopes others can follow in her footsteps, saying: “Hopefully from what’s happened to me it can put into perspective that within a matter of weeks you can completely change your career.

“I started this year playing in 15Ks (the lowest level of professional tennis) and I’m starting next year going to Australian Open qualifying.

“I’m very thankful and happy that the LTA have managed to keep it going. I think it’s going to help a lot of the girls and it’s only going to bring more depth into the women’s game.”