Young Briton Jack Draper faces world number one Novak Djokovic on Centre Court at Wimbledon on Day One of the summer spectacle at the All England Club.
Draper, 19, is a wild card for this year’s Championship and he will face a tough but incredible challenge against the Serbian star, which is sure to be a great learning curve for the youngster and it will be interesting to see how he can fare against his opponent, one of the true greats the sport has ever seen.
A fresh face for a lot of supporters, Draper is a very promising British tennis star and has already been compared to fellow wild card and three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, but the youngster is out to set his own path.
Britain’s number seven has a lot of raw talent but he is still yet to hone his skillset which he will surely do in time and his match against Djokovic will provide a perfect lesson for Draper.
The young Brit started playing at his local tennis and squash club in Sutton, competing with his brother Ben (who has just graduated on a tennis scholarship from the University of California at Berkeley) under the guidance of his mother and tennis coach Nicky. Draper has said he attributes much of his attacking style and competitive nature to his early days as a result of sibling rivalry – he always tried to get the better of his brother.
There was a strong connection with his family and the Lawn Tennis Association as his father was Chief Executive from 2006 to 2013, the same year Draper was in the crowd to witness Murray crowned the Wimbledon men’s singles champion, beating his soon-to-be opponent Djokovic.
A tidy left-hander, Draper enjoyed success at junior level, winning three ITF Futures titles in 2018 before reaching the Wimbledon Boys’ final later that year.
His run to the final included a 4 hour 23 minute 7-6(5) 6-7(8) 19-17 semi-final victory over Colombia’s Nicolas Mejia. The 19-year-old achieved a career high ITF Junior Ranking of No.7 at the end of 2018. Since turning pro, he has won four ITF $25K titles and he will hope to build on that now he is part of the ATP Tour.
After overcoming injury and fitness setbacks earlier this year, Draper announced himself on the ATP Tour with an impressive run at Queen’s earlier this month. He stunned Italian third seed Jannik Sinner, one of the sport’s brightest young talents, for his first ATP Tour win. He then followed that up with another win against Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik before bowing out to fellow Brit and eventual finalist Cameron Norrie in the quarter-finals.
He will be feeling confident ahead of his test against Djokovic, with the Serb saying he does not know too much about his opponent and that he only saw bits of him at Queen’s. Djokovic added that he would need to take Draper seriously because of the young star being a homegrown player who will have the crowd’s backing and also because of the fact he has already beaten some top players.
Monday afternoon’s clash between the two is sure to provide some entertaining tennis and it will be a wonderful experience for young Draper, who will have the whole of Centre Court and the UK behind him.