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Up and Coming Tennis Star in 2020: Jack Draper 

At only 18 years old, the future is looking bright for Englishman Jack Draper. Although currently only just ranked inside the ATP top 300, he is arguably the stand-out player of his generation. His development will be closely monitored by all British tennis fans, who are yearning for another hero to follow in the footsteps of Andy Murray.

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Born in Sutton, London, Jack Draper comes from a tennis family. His father, Roger Draper, was an accomplished amateur player and served as the Lawn Tennis Association’s chief executive between 2006 and 2013. His mother was also heavily involved in the sport and was a tennis coach. In the early days of his career, Jack has already shown touches of class, and his all-court game is likely to gain plaudits as he progresses through tournaments in the future.

As a junior, Jack was thrust into the limelight with an incredibly impressive showing at his home tournament. He finished runner-up at the 2018 Wimbledon final, losing out to the talented Tseng Chun-Hsin 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, who entered the tournament as the top seed. Had he won, Jack would have become the first British boys champion since Stanley Matthews in 1962, but it wasn’t to be.

The final will live long in the memory, and it was competed in front of a sold-out Court One. As is customary for domestic stars, Draper received vociferous support throughout the match. Still, he made a costly 42 unforced errors and was punished by Tseng, who looked calm and assured throughout, sealing the victory with an emphatic ace.

Although he will undoubtedly be disappointed with his performance in the final, Draper can look back on the 2018 tournament and reflect on some incredible moments. Perhaps the most astonishing was his four-hour duel with Colombia’s Nicolas Mejia in the semi-final. To come through that match and emerge victoriously was a brilliant achievement and showed the depth of his character and resilience.

The following year, he was awarded a wildcard to the 2019 Wimbledon Men’s Championship, but he fell at the first hurdle, losing to accomplished Japanese player Yasutaka Uchiyama. There wasn’t any significant pressure on him for such a young man, and many were impressed with what they saw.

When you look at Draper, it’s hard not to think that he was born to be a tennis player. At 6ft 2in, he possesses a ferocious serve and an aggressive forehand and is a mean-tempered competitor, with many tennis bookmakers offering great odds for each of his matches. Sometimes his outbursts on the court have spilled over into tantrums, and he has been compared to a young Andy Murray, at least in that respect.

Since the age of three, he has been playing tennis when he used to go along to his local tennis club with his mother, who was a coach. While his mum was coaching, he would relentlessly hit tennis balls against a brick wall and keep coming back for more. His maturity into the bright young prospect that he is today says a lot about his hard work and perseverance, but he undoubtedly has a long way to go before he becomes a recognised household name.

In his most recent professional outing, Draper lost out at the qualifying stage of the Slovakian Open after being beaten by Frenchman Mathias Bourge. Although it’s far too early to predict just how successful Draper will be, he must stay focused and committed to his development. Former youth prospects in British tennis, such as Laura Robson, have faded away after promising starts to their career.

Although Robson has had a really tough time of things due to injury, her career has been disappointing since she burst on the scene. It’s vital that all young players who make a name for themselves at such a young age work on their consistency and try and get as much experience under their belt as they can.

Now that tennis has resumed after the shut-down enforced due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jack Draper will be hoping that he can start to fulfil his promise. If he qualifies to complete at his home tournament of Wimbledon next summer, he can be sure of vocal support from his fans. Given his early promise, it would be wise to keep an eye on his progress to see how his career develops.

References 

Jack Draper – https://www.atptour.com/en/players/jack-draper/d0co/overview

Jack Draper – https://www.sofascore.com/team/tennis/draper-jack/258749

Jack Draper – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Draper_(tennis)

Roger that! Jack Draper aims to be big on his own – https://www.metro.news/roger-that-jack-draper-aims-to-be-big-hit-on-his-own/736175/

‘Tennis really isn’t glamourous’: Wimbledon Boys’ finalist Jack Draper on his quest to the top – https://www.swlondoner.co.uk/sport/12022020-tennis-isnt-glamourous-wimbledon-boys-finalist-jack-draper/

Wimbledon 2018: GB’s Jack Draper beaten by Tseng Chun-Hsin in boys’ final – https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/44839263

Wimbledon 2018: Is Jack Draper the next star of British tennis? https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/44834398

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