Shining against the odds: Jack Draper's tennis triumph amid injury trials

Monday, 17 June 2024 at 21:30
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Jack Draper has ascended to the top of British tennis after clinching his maiden professional title at the ATP 250 Stuttgart Open. The 22-year-old appears to have put his injury woes behind him and is emerging as one of the most formidable players on the grass-swing circuit.
Draper's talent has been lauded by peers since his debut on the tour in 2021. Notably, he was the runner-up at Wimbledon juniors in 2018 at just 16 years old, after years of competing in Future and Challenger tournaments before making his splash at the 2021 Miami Open.
From junior Grand Slam runner-up to Britain's new No. 1
Draper's journey began at the local Sutton Tennis & Squash Club at the age of 6, competing alongside his brother under the guidance of his mother and coach, Nicky—a setup reminiscent of Andy Murray's early days with his brother Jamie under their mother Judy's guidance.
Early on, Draper stood out as one of the brightest prospects for the future, reaching a career-high junior ranking of No. 7 with notable performances in junior events.
While his ascent seemed promising, injuries plagued Draper's consistency. After breaking into the top 50 in 2022 at 20 years old and briefly reaching the top 40, injuries forced him to withdraw from several tournaments throughout the year. He dropped out of the top 100 by August of the following year and had to rebuild his ranking through Challenger events.
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Jack Draper at 2024 Adelaide International
The young Brit struggled to find consistent form, facing early exits and significant withdrawals, including from the semifinals of the Mexican Open while facing Alex De Minaur. However, Draper's determination shone through as he reached his third professional final at the Stuttgart Open and clinched the title by overcoming Matteo Berrettini 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
Following this triumph, Draper has surged nine places to reach a career-high world No. 31, surpassing Cameron Norrie (No. 39), Dan Evans (No. 59), and Andy Murray (No. 129). At 22 years and 178 days old, he is now the youngest British No. 1 since Murray in 2009.
Currently training under the guidance of James Trotman at the National Tennis Centre of the LTA, Draper has also recently enlisted the expertise of experienced coach Wayne Ferreira, known for his work with Frances Tiafoe and guiding players to the top 10.

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