Andy Murray is a big act to follow. The 36-year-old Brit has won three grand slams, two Olympic singles Gold medals, and Olympic silver in mixed doubles during his illustrious career. 21-year-old Jack Draper is aiming to take the torch and achieve the same tennis heights as his veteran compatriot.
Jack Draper could fill the gap
Although Murray is no longer the British No. 1 (that honour currently belongs to Cameron Norrie), Murray is still ranked as the No. 3 Brit on tour. Jack Draper is one spot behind him. The youngster had an up-and-down 2023 season as he dealt with various injuries but topped off the season with two Challenger finals and one title.
Draper claimed his fifth Challenger title in Bergamo, defeating Belgian David Goffin in three sets. The Belgian dominated the first set before the Brit fought back in the second set. This set the Brit up nicely for his first ATP main tour final.
At the Sofia Open, Draper defeated the top seed Lorenzo Musetti in the second round. He followed this up by beating third seed Jan-Lennard Struff in the semi-final to make his first ATP 250 final. This made Draper the youngest Brit to make an ATP 250 final since Murray in 2009 (Miami).
2023 Davis Cup
The young Brit made his debut in the Davis Cup in September against Australia. Draper fought back from a set down to give Great Britain the first win of the tie. Dan Evans followed this up winning the second rubber, putting the Brits in a commanding lead.
Draper will once again be the first matchup on-court on Thursday as the Brits face Serbia and Novak Djokovic. Draper must win the first match for GB to have any chance of progressing. Norrie faces Djokovic in the second match, and it’s extremely unlikely that Norrie will defeat the current world No. 1.
The closing event of the main tennis tour year will give Draper the offseason to prepare for next season. Staying injury-free will be vital for the young Brit, who will be eager to make an assault on the rankings and the main tour. Looking to win his first main tour title next season, Draper is the next big hope for British Tennis.
Draper has a very good game, and with a few tweaks, the Brit can win at the highest level. Hopefully, British Tennis will not have a long wait before its next Grand Slam winner.
Main Photo Credit: Jerry Lai – USA TODAY Sports