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  • Billy Wooldridge

Jack Draper: The next British star looking to break into the tennis top 100

Cameron Norrie has been dominating the headlines in British tennis this year after breaking into the world top 10, but there’s another young star further down the rankings who could soon be big news.

Londoner Jack Draper has shot up through the rankings after a brilliant start to the season on the ATP Challenger Tour, the second tier of the men’s circuit.

The 20-year-old has won four titles in six Challenger tournaments this year, boosting his ranking from 265 to a career high of 122.

That run has seen him become the youngest British player in history to win three ATP Challenger series titles, surpassing Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund.

His most recent triumph came in France earlier this month, when he defeated Zizou Bergs 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in the final of the St Brieuc Challenger.

Draper first began playing tennis aged six when his mother Nicky, a former British junior champion, took him to his first session at their local Sutton Tennis and Squash club.

Tennis is a firm part of the family, with Draper’s father, Roger, serving as chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association from 2006 to 2013.

In 2018, aged 16, Draper reached the boys’ singles final at Wimbledon and achieved a career-high ITF Junior Ranking of No7. He turned professional later that year.

Injuries and the pandemic hindered his progress until 2021, when Draper won his first ATP Tour matches at Queen’s Club, upsetting two top-40 players including the No3 seed Jannik Sinner.

He then announced himself to a wider audience at Wimbledon by giving world No1 Novak Djokovic a scare on Centre Court.

Draper was one of only two players to take a set off Djokovic at the tournament, which the Serb went on to win against Matteo Berrettini.

The Briton began a stellar run in 2022 by winning his first ATP Challenger title in Forli in January, and has so far lost just three of his 26 matches.

“If guys have beaten me this year, they’ve had to play a really good match to beat me,” said Draper, speaking to the LTA this week.

“Luckily in most of them I’ve played some really good tennis to win them so I think that’s the thing, just being more consistent and being mentality and physically better than I was.”

With the likes of Murray and Edmund hampered constantly by injuries, British tennis has been starved of top-100 players on the men’s circuit.

Norrie and world No27 Dan Evans are well established, but beyond them Draper looks the best prospect to climb the rankings and rival them for headlines.

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