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    Fan, Pal, Opponent: How Jack Draper’s Relationship With Andy Murray Has Advanced | ATP Tour

    Ten years after an 11-year-old Jack Draper watched Andy Murray win the 2013 Wimbledon title from the Centre Courtroom stands, the fast-rising British star will meet his idol-turned-friend for the primary time on the ATP Tour Monday on the BNP Paribas Open.

    Now 21, Draper has praised the three-time Grand Slam champion from the primary time the media’s cameras and microphones had been educated on him — a routine he’s changing into accustomed to as he soars up the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, breaking into the Prime 40 for the primary time earlier this yr after reaching the Adelaide semi-finals.

    Murray has returned the favour, most lately on Saturday: “I feel he will be a high, high participant for a very long time,” predicted the Scot, who has confirmed to have a eager eye for recognizing world-class expertise. Forward of the 2022 US Open, the place Draper reached the third spherical for his finest Grand Slam consequence, Murray mentioned the 6-foot-4 lefty’s well-rounded sport, giving specific credit score to his return and motion at his measurement.

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    Talking with and members of the British press following his 6-4, 6-2 win in opposition to countryman Daniel Evans on Saturday in Indian Wells, Draper defined his historical past with Murray and the way their relationship has advanced.

    “I’ve kind of had two levels with Andy,” he defined. “[The first was] after I was youthful, watching him win Wimbledon for the primary time on Centre Courtroom. It was inspiring. I needed to be like him, somebody that I used to be trying as much as on a regular basis… a bit starstruck after I noticed him a number of instances at first.

    “After which throughout lockdown I grew to become a greater participant and I used to be capable of practise with him extra. From there, we have practised collectively hundreds. I would wish to say he is a very good pal and, once more, nonetheless somebody that I look as much as and somebody that I obtain recommendation from on a regular basis. I feel he simply tells me to benefit from the journey a little bit bit. I feel that is what he is doing now, he is having fun with his time on court docket a little bit greater than he did. He is an incredible champion and an excellent human being as nicely.”

    Draper could have had the proper preparation for his third-round matchup with Murray in his win in opposition to Evans, throughout which he felt nerves and numb legs at instances as a result of pair’s shut relationship. The Briton holds a 2-2 tour-level document in opposition to British opponents, together with a win in opposition to Ryan Peniston and two defeats to Cameron Norrie.

    “He is clearly somebody that I’ve loads of banter with and he is a pal,” Draper stated of Evans. “It is by no means good competing in opposition to somebody that you just spend loads of time with. However I suppose that is a part of tennis. You have acquired to have the ability to play your compatriots and I assumed I did a very good job and I usually loved the battle as nicely.”

    Draper frolicked with Evans and Norrie final month when he was named to the Nice Britain Davis Cup staff for the primary time, although he didn’t compete in his nation’s 3-1 win in opposition to Colombia. After beating Evans in Indian Wells, Draper is trying ahead to seeing one other pleasant face throughout the online when he performs Murray — who famously led Nice Britain to its tenth Davis Cup title in 2015, profitable all 11 rubbers he performed.

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    “In all truthfully I would like to play Andy,” Draper stated, earlier than the 35-year-old closed out a 6-4, 6-3 win in opposition to Radu Albot. “I feel enjoying him on one of many greatest levels in tennis, it is one thing that I will be trying ahead to, particularly after at this time.

    “Let’s make it one other British affair. I feel he’d be extremely robust to beat, as traditional, but it surely’s one thing that I am trying ahead to if I get to play him.”

    Whereas Draper is making his Indian Wells debut — “It is a event I have been watching since I used to be actually younger. It is fulfilled all my expectations of how good it will be,” he stated — Murray is competing within the desert for the fifteenth time, his finest consequence a ultimate run in 2009 (l. to Nadal). Earlier than the occasion, 46-time-time tour-level champ Murray singled out the BNP Paribas Open trophy because the one he most covets amongst these he has but to win. On the alternative finish of his profession, Draper is looking for his first ATP Tour title this week.

    Forward of one of many greatest matches of his younger tennis life, Draper can take some consolation from his many hitting periods with Murray, in addition to the pair’s matchup on the Battle of the Brits final December, an exhibition event performed in Aberdeen. Murray gained that match by the slimmest of margins in a Match Tie-break, after which the pair shared a heat embrace.

    “I sort of felt prefer it was good to play Andy in a few units,” Draper mirrored. “However for one factor, it was an exhibition, that match. And in addition on the similar time, we would simply come off the again off preseason, so we had been each fairly drained from placing loads of work in.

    “However I anticipate the match on Monday to be a particularly difficult one. He is come by means of loads of matches lately, he is enjoying with confidence and I feel his physique’s in a extremely good place as nicely in the meanwhile.”

    Murray has gained all seven deciding units he is performed this season, saving a mountain of match factors alongside the way in which. He notched his first straight-sets win of the yr in opposition to Albot.

    Including only a bit of additional spice to Monday’s marquee matchup: The winner will finish the day forward of the opposite within the Pepperstone ATP Dwell Rankings, simply exterior the Prime 40.

    Did You Know?
    Late final yr, Draper hit with YouTube star and aspiring professional Felix Mischker, who’s chronicling his journey to his first Pepperstone ATP Rankings level on his channel. Mischker documented their session in a YouTube video that has 159,000 views and counting.

    “I came upon I used to be hitting with him after which he requested if he may movie the session. It was actually good to get to know him a little bit bit extra,” Draper stated of the 19-year-old Briton.

    “He is acquired clearly the channel on YouTube which I feel is admittedly good. That reveals tennis in a little bit of a unique method. Numerous instances you see tennis from the best echelons. However on the similar time, folks generally do not actually respect the journey of an aspiring professional and what that is like. It is actually troublesome, financially, working day in day trip, enjoying the Futures. 

    “It isn’t all strawberries and cream; it is actually troublesome on the market. I feel it reveals it a little bit bit from that perspective and I feel he does a extremely good job of shining a light-weight on that side and I feel he is a extremely common child on there. It was good to play with him and he is a very nice man.”

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