Jack Draper not solely earned his first ATP Masters 1000 victory on Wednesday on the Miami Open offered by Itau, however he additionally obtained a stamp of approval from a fellow Briton who is aware of a factor or two about tennis success.
Former World No. 4 Tim Henman advised ATPTour.com after the match that Draper, who defeated former World No. 6 Gilles Simon 7-5, 6-1, is “excellent”. The 20-year-old is fourth within the ATP Race To Milan for a spot on the Intesa Sanpaolo Subsequent Gen ATP Finals.
“He’s obtained weapons. He’s a lefty, he’s obtained an enormous serve, he’s obtained a extremely heavy forehand. He’s introduced that physicality, he’s placed on quite a lot of muscle mass, he’s an excellent athlete,” Henman mentioned. “He’s including parts to his sport. It’s nonetheless early days, however so long as he stays wholesome, we’ll see much more from him sooner or later.”
A yr in the past in Miami, Draper performed an 82-minute first set towards Mikhail Kukushkin. Then 19, he was compelled to retire from the match attributable to warmth. On Wednesday, the lefty had no such difficulties beneath the Florida solar.
“It’s been nice to look at his development,” Henman advised ATPTour.com. “And clearly while you have in mind the place he was 12 months in the past right here, in comparable circumstances, and he was cooked after a set… to see him play towards a category opponent and are available out on high, each in tennis phrases, however in bodily phrases [too], it’s good instances.”
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Photograph Credit score: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Draper confirmed nice maturity towards a tough participant in Simon. Serving up a break at 4-3, 30/0, he performed some unfastened factors on the forehand facet to provide the break again. However as Henman mentioned, “there was no panic”. The #NextGenATP star competed via the adversity and gained 9 of the match’s closing 10 video games.
“He’s all the time been an excellent competitor, and his sport has been creating and to a sure extent it’s taken him just a little little bit of time for his physicality to catch up,” Henman mentioned. “He’s had fairly a number of accidents, hasn’t actually been in a position to construct the momentum beforehand however this yr it’s a distinct story.”
The lefty has gained three ATP Challenger Tour titles this yr, turning into the youngest Briton to earn three Challenger trophies.
“I believe those that perceive the sport know that the extent of tennis at Challenger degree may be very excessive,” Henman mentioned. “It’s not an enormous step as much as the primary Tour, and with all these wins he’s obtained quite a lot of confidence beneath his belt.”
Now Draper is on one of many sport’s greatest levels, proving he can compete towards the world’s greatest. It’s not the primary time he has carried out so, although. Final yr on the Cinch Championships, held at The Queen’s Membership, he upset Jannik Sinner and Alexander Bublik. Then at Wimbledon, Draper gained the primary set towards eventual champion Novak Djokovic earlier than dropping in 4 units.
“I used to be there. Robust draw, wasn’t it?” Henman mentioned. “However he embraced that problem. He misplaced that day however to take a set off Djokovic, the primary set he’s performed on Centre Court docket at Wimbledon, he did himself proud and he would have learnt loads. As I mentioned, I believe it gained’t be lengthy earlier than he’s again out on Centre Court docket once more.”
Draper Downs Simon For Dream Miami Win
Subsequent up in Miami for Draper will likely be fellow Briton Cameron Norrie, the person who defeated him at The Queen’s Membership final yr 6-3, 6-3. They’re a lot accustomed to one another regardless of Norrie being greater than six years older.
“I’ve performed loads with Cam within the U.Ok. He is one of many guys who has been nice with me as a younger Brit. I believe he is all the time supporting, all the time sending me messages,” Draper mentioned. “Good I get to share the court docket with him on Friday. After I performed him at Queen’s final yr, I am loads higher participant than that I believe. Hopefully I may give him a run for his cash on Friday.”
It doesn’t matter what occurs in that match, Henman added that it’s essential to recollect a tennis profession is a protracted journey. Draper remains to be at first.
“It’s [important]. It’s such a aggressive setting, you’ve obtained to get pleasure from successful, however the actuality on this sport is you lose loads. It doesn’t matter who you’re, you lose loads,” Henman mentioned. “You discuss at a lot of these occasions, there’s just one winner, there will likely be 95 or extra losers in each the boys’s and the ladies’s. So that you’ve obtained to study from that facet of issues, and I believe that’s the place he’s maturing and that is one other essential stepping stone for him, his first win at a Masters 1000, and it is going to be the primary of many as a result of he’s excellent.”
Draper and Henman had a short chat inside Exhausting Rock Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. Earlier than that second, ATPTour.com requested Henman what recommendation he would give the #NextGenATP participant.
“There’s going to be quite a lot of bumps within the highway,” Henman mentioned. “However preserve placing the work in, day in, day trip, small enhancements, and he’s going to have an excellent profession.”