Draper survives first big test as British No 1 at Wimbledon

The No 28 seed prevailed against qualifier Ymer in five sets, setting a blockbuster against Cam Norrie next

Jack Draper Wimbledon 2024 AP/Panoramic

Britain’s Jack Draper defeated qualifier Elias Ymer in five sets on Tuesday, prevailing 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the first round of Wimbledon.

In doing so, Draper successfully navigated one of the toughest challenges in tennis: playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon as the British No 1.

The 22-year-old recently gained the title courtesy of a strong grass season leading into the year’s third Grand Slam. Despite his impressive form, questions hung over how the young man would respond to the weight of public expectation.

With Andy Murray retiring any minute now, this very much felt like a passing of the torch moment, as Draper stepped up to the plate and thrilled the British crowd.

Imperfect Draper gets the job done

No 28 seed Draper was far from perfect, taking five sets to get past world No 205 Ymer.

Nerves were evident as Draper dropped the opening set 6-3, getting broken twice with some rare openings on his serve.

The Brit found his radar throughout the match, however, making 54 winners and 40 unforced errors across the first-round encounter.

Another wobble in the fourth set saw Draper and Ymer head to a decider, but it was the home favourite in control from the first game. He quickly raced out to a 4-1 lead, and while Ymer fended off a double break admirably, Draper was able to close out the set 6-3 to book his spot in the second round.

Next up, Draper will play one of the most anticipated clashes of the tournament so far that’s sure to secure another Centre Court berth. Cameron Norrie awaits–the man who he stripped of the British No 1 title last month.

Senior statesman Norrie will understandably be fired up for the match, which plays on Thursday.

Draper lauds role of Murray in British tennis

With Murray withdrawing from the men’s singles event ahead of play starting on Tuesday, Draper took a moment post-match to speak into the role the tennis legend has had in his life.

“Just a word on Andy,” Draper began.

“I wouldn’t be here without Andy. He’s an incredible guy off the court: genuine, so funny, one of a kind. What a competitor. What a champion.”

Murray will still compete in the men’s doubles event this Wimbledon, alongside brother Jamie.

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