Jack Draper was one of many breakthrough stars final 12 months and 2023 is about to be one other big step within the teen’s fledgling profession.
The 21-year-old started 2022 because the world No 265 and ended the 12 months within the high 50, with some success on the challenger tour, the place he gained 4 titles in three months earlier than taking his recreation to the ATP Tour, greedy the possibility with top-20 wins in opposition to Taylor Fritz at Queen’s Membership and Diego Schwartzman at Eastbourne.
At Eastbourne, Draper beat Schwartzman en path to his first ATP semi-final earlier than shedding to Maxime Cressy.
In the summertime, Draper earned his first Grand Slam win at Wimbledon earlier than the American hard-court season, which noticed Draper defeat high 10 gamers Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger Aliassime at Montreal and the U.S. Open respectively.
The highly effective left-hander ended the 12 months ranked No 42 and was the primary Briton to qualify for the Subsequent Era ATP Finalsthe place he reached the semi-finals.
With a great 12 months beneath his belt, Draper will look to additional enhance his rating this 12 months in his first full season on the ATP Tour, beginning with the Australian Open.
Draper has risen to the problem in robust attracts
Within the lead-up to the primary Grand Slam of 2023, Draper reached the semi-finals on the Adelaide Worldwide, as he ready for a robust opening spherical match in opposition to Rafael Nadal in Melbourne.
Former British tennis participant Barry Cowan believes Draper will solely get higher this 12 months however cautioned that he’s nonetheless on the growth stage of his profession.
Chatting with Sky Sports activities forward of the Australian Open, Cowan felt that the Brit will rise to the problem of going through the reigning champion.
“I feel it is a very, very thrilling draw. I feel for Jack, this stage of his profession, the place he is nonetheless very a lot within the growth stage, it is only a studying expertise that’s solely going to assist him additional down the highway,” Cowan mentioned.
“I feel for me, when I’ve seen Jack in opposition to the easiest, he has actually risen to the problem from the second that he performed Djokovic on the Heart Court docket at Wimbledon just a few years in the past, he took the opening set and he is so much higher participant now than he was then.
“I feel it is actually thrilling for Jack and one other good take a look at to see the sport that he is seeking to develop and seeking to evolve as a result of he has so many attributes, clearly, that the temperament, the profitable mentality, I liken it to Murray in that sense .”
Murray: Jack is likely one of the finest prospects
After a 12 months that noticed him leapfrog Andy Murray within the British rankings, hopes are excessive for Draper, after initially scuffling with accidents throughout the early days of his growth.
Murray described Draper as “top-of-the-line” prospects on Tour and expects him to construct on a landmark 2022.
Talking on the ATP Tour podcast final 12 months, Murray mentioned: “Jack is likely one of the finest prospects on the tour proper now. He is not performed a great deal of tennis compared to numerous the younger guys round his age, he is had various accidents and setbacks over the previous couple of years.
“He is a giant man, and I feel that is regular. You understand, for that to occur when he was, nonetheless rising and every thing and adjusting to full-time tennis primarily.
“Skilled tennis is a bit completely different. And I feel, yeah, he is had an excellent 12 months and I count on him to maintain going larger subsequent season.”
Keothavong: Draper has improved within the final 12 months
Nice Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong mentioned she is “excited” for what the 12 months holds for Draper.
Chatting with Sky Sports activities Information in Decemberthe previous British No 1 mentioned: “With Jack, he is likely one of the finest kids on the ATP tour, and he performs explosive and thrilling tennis.
“The truth that he has improved as a lot as he has this previous 12 months simply exhibits what he’s able to. In comparison with numerous guys his age, he hasn’t truly performed that a lot.
“He has had numerous accidents and chunks of outing, however he’s an unbelievable competitor and has a improbable angle, so I’m excited to see what the following 12 months holds for him.”
Excessive reward additionally got here from David Felgate, who coached Tim Henman for 9 years.
Talking with Tennishead, Felgate mentioned that Draper has the potential to dominate tennis in the identical means as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic.
“What he has proven, his recreation, his skills, his love of the game – he ticks each field and I just like the journey that he has taken, step-by-step and a giant leap this 12 months. He has bought all of the attributes wanted to go proper to the highest of the game,” he mentioned.
With the Australian Open the primary main match Draper enters this 12 months, the younger Brit will hope he can proceed his good kind by the 12 months, enhance his rating place and add additional titles and scalps to his belt.