Jack Draper may not be a household name just yet, but the 20-year-old from Sutton has announced himself as one of tennis’ rising stars in 2022. Draper has made the most improved rise of any male tennis player in the world rankings following his quick start to the new year.
The Brit has jumped into 124th in the world rankings, a remarkable rise of 135 places. This leap comes on the back of a record-breaking run after the 20-year-old became the first player to win four Challenger titles in the first quarter of the campaign.
In the middle of all of this success, Draper also had time to collect his first win at ATP Masters 1000 level victory after defeating Frenchman Gilles Simon out in Miami.
Making the step up to the ATP Masters 1000 level was a special one for the Englishman, however he admitted he didn’t want to get ‘too used to it’ just yet during an interview with the Times. He said: “You get looked after unbelievably at an event like Miami. But I knew I was just passing through the town. Then, next week, I’d be back in the middle of nowhere in France. So I didn't want to get used to it.
“Having said that, the places I’m playing are already becoming more comfortable. It’s a shock when you come out of the juniors because you’ve been playing the slams, which are all nice and cushy, and then suddenly you’re down to Futures events [the bottom of the pro-tennis pyramid].
“We went to Cancun [in Mexico], which sounded nice, but it was 20 minutes down a dirt track from the airport. They’d just built courts there in the middle of the jungle."
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There is no doubt Draper will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow British sensation Emma Raducanu, after the meteoric rise saw he make history when clinching last year’s US Open as a qualifier. The Sutton man had already predicted Raducanu to go on to great things one year prior, and described her remarkable feat as ‘pretty surreal’.
He commented: “We have similar age groups. So we've been playing the same tournaments – your Orange Bowls [in Miami], your Eddie Herr Invitationals [just up the road in Bradenton]. And Emma has trained here in the past a fair bit as well. She’s a great girl, a great person.
“So in that interview, I said ‘She's gonna do unbelievably well.’ Two weeks later, she goes and makes fourth round at Wimbledon, and everyone thinks that's great. And then she goes and does the unthinkable [ winning the US Open]. So, yeah, it was pretty surreal, to be honest.”
Draper also revealed that the achievements of Raducanu have also motivated him to one day reach those heights too. “It's funny. You want your compatriots to do well because you know them as people and what they go through,” He added.
“But then, if something like that doesn’t make you think, ‘Oh, I want to do that,’ then you wouldn't be a strong competitor. It motivated me, which it should do and hopefully all the other players here to move forward as well.”
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