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Jack Draper: The rise of bright tennis prospects to new British No. 1 | Tennis news

Jack Draper: The rise of bright tennis prospects to new British No. 1 |  Tennis news
Jack Draper: The rise of bright tennis prospects to new British No. 1 |  Tennis news

 


Jack Draper is Britain's new No.1 after rising in the rankings above Cameron Norrie, but who is the 22-year-old bright tennis prospect from Sutton and can he become a Grand Slam winner?

After missing the entire swing on the grass court last year due to injury, Draper's preparations for this year's Wimbledon saw him claim his first ATP Tour title by beating Italian Matteo Berrettini in the final of the Stuttgart Open on Sunday.

The youngster, who has been on an upward trajectory in recent years, has now surpassed Norrie in the British No.1 rankings.

Jack Draper in short

Nickname: JD and Drapes

Place of birth: Sutton

Lives: London

Trains: NTC/Wimbledon

Favorite tournament: Wimbledon

Family: Father Roger was a talented amateur tennis player and Chief Executive of the LTA from 2006 to 2013

Mother Nicky is a former British junior champion and introduced Jack to tennis

Brother Ben played college tennis at the University of California-Berkeley and is now pursuing a master's degree at Wake Forest

Supports Manchester United

Favorite athlete is MMA star Conor McGregor

Where it all started

Draper began playing at his local Sutton Tennis & Squash club, competing with his brother under the tutelage of mother and tennis coach Nicky.

As a coach at the club, his mother took Jack to his first training session at the age of six.

Draper peaked at No. 7 in the ITF world junior rankings, helped by his second-place finish at the 2018 Wimbledon boys' singles event.

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Speaking at the Madrid Open, Draper feels he is 'not yet at the level' he wants to be at

The Rise of Draper

The left-hander is one of the brightest talents in British tennis, as evidenced by his rise of 223 places in the ATP rankings in 2022, ending the year in the top 50.

Draper burst onto the scene with impressive victories over Jannik Sinner and Alexander Bublik at Queen's Club in 2021, becoming the youngest Briton to win three ATP Challenger titles in two months, the first Briton to qualify for the Next Gen Finals and backing up that achievement with strong performances at Eastbourne, the Canada Masters and US Open.

He introduced himself to the mainstream when, as a 19-year-old, he took the lead against Novak Djokovic in the opening match of Wimbledon in 2022.

22 years and 178 days

Jack Draper becomes the youngest British No. 1 since Andy Murray was the same age on November 9, 2009

Draper reached two ATP Tour finals prior to his success in Stuttgart on Sunday. He lost a close encounter to Adrian Mannarino in Sofia in November 2023 and reached the final again in Adelaide in early 2024, losing to Jiri Lehecka in three sets.

Before that, Draper's previous record was reaching his first ATP Tour semi-final at Eastbourne in 2022 as a wildcard.

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Draper explains how he had to adjust to the demands of the tour

Who coaches Draper?

Jack Draper of Great Britain and coach James Trotman with the trophy after winning the final against Holger 'The Viking' Rune of Denmark during day three of the UTS Grand Final London at ExCel London on December 17, 2023 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images for UTS)
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Draper is coached by James Trotman

LTA National Coach James Trotman at the National Tennis Centre, although he recently tried out a potential second coach when he hired Wayne Ferreira in a bid to kick-start his career.

Trotman is a former player himself, having won the Wimbledon boys' doubles in 1995 with Martin Lee and the Australian Open boys' doubles in 1997 with David Sherwood.

Draper at the 2023 US Open

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Highlights from Draper's second round match against Hubert Hurkacz at the US Open

After missing Wimbledon due to injuries, Draper returned to the tour with a strong performance at the US Open.

The Briton defeated Radu Albot, Hubert Hurkacz and American Michael Mmoh to reach the fourth round at Flushing Meadows – his best performance at a Grand Slam event to date.

Draper's motivation

“I just love winning. To be honest, I love working hard and then getting the reward from it. I know it's not always like that, but at the same time I enjoy how hard it is. I love competing and I Enjoy training and getting better.”

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Draper feels his serve is his greatest weapon

Injuries and illness

Jack Draper of Great Britain reacts after defeating Marcos Giron of the US in their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, January 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
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Draper won a grueling five-set match against American Marcos Giron at the Australian Open, then immediately ran to the on-court bucket to throw up

Draper's progress has stalled amid numerous physical problems, but after working on his fitness and losing 3kg, he is now seeking psychological help to help with the anxiety that is hampering his physical performance.

“I always felt like the physical issues, like a lot of them, were also mental for me, kind of dealing with stress, dealing with my emotions,” Draper said.

“Obviously as I get better physically I might be able to handle it a little bit better, but it's certainly an area that's very important as well.

“I've never really felt a lot of tension in my tennis. That's not the problem. It's like… if you have that anxiety while playing, obviously there's a lot going on. It's hot. There's a kind of no way out of the field. You really have to suffer to win the points, and you have to work hard.

“Every player feels it, and every player has different ways that they struggle with it, whether it's someone who gets really tight on their forehand and can't hit a forehand, they might start to lose their movement a little bit.

“For me, it feels like my breathing is really starting to get difficult and I can't get the oxygen into me. That's obviously a difficult point when you're playing. You're not just playing the man, you're almost competing against yourself because you feel clearly not 100 percent.”

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Annabel Croft revealed that Draper is a natural right-hander, but plays with his left hand, like Rafael Nadal, meaning the backhand is played like a second forehand

Ready to lean on his idol

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Draper explains the impact Andy Murray has had on his career and describes him as an inspiration

Draper has said he is willing to lean heavily on Andy Murray after the Scot calls time on his career.

Murray is in the final stages of an excellent career, having confirmed earlier this year that he is unlikely to play again beyond the summer.

“It will be much easier to approach him when he's done,” Draper said.

“As a tennis player you don't have time to think about anything other than yourself. You always think about what you can do better.

“Once he's stopped, I'll be contacting him a lot more, asking him for his opinion on things, asking him what he's tried and if it worked for him.

“I'm definitely going to lean on Andy a lot and I'm sure he'll want to help me because he's always been very supportive.”

The future?

Draper has shown he has the talent to challenge at the top of the game and admits he feels a responsibility to take over.

“I want to achieve so much in sport. It's not just about winning, it's about inspiring kids to play and getting people to pick up a racket and know that tennis isn't just about playing on Center Court Wimbledon,” he says . said.

“It can be great for so many people in different ways.”

What's coming up on Sky Sports Tennis?

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Discover all the ways to watch tennis on Sky Sports, including the US Open, ATP and WTA tours

In the run-up to the third Grand Slam of 2024 – Wimbledon – you can see all the biggest tennis stars in action live on Sky Sports as they compete throughout the grass season.

  • Berlin Open (WTA 500) – June 17-23
  • Halle (ATP 500) – June 17-23
  • Mallorca Championships (ATP 250) – June 23-29
  • Bad Homburg (WTA 500) – June 23-29

Watch the WTA and ATP tours throughout 2024 on Sky Sports Tennis. Stream Sky Sports Tennis and more with a NOW Sports Month membership. No contract, can be canceled at any time.

Sources

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2/ https://www.skysports.com/tennis/news/12110/13152613/jack-draper-the-rise-of-bright-tennis-prospect-to-new-british-no-1

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