Jack Draper Becomes British No 1, Aims for First ATP Tour Title

Jack Draper Becomes British No 1, Aims for First ATP Tour Title

Jack Draper has vowed not to ‘shy away’ from the spotlight after the 22-year-old was crowned British No 1.

The 22-year-old, who is the youngest to reach the top of the men’s rankings since Andy Murray in 2009, displaced Cameron Norrie, following Norrie’s loss to Jack Pinnington Jones in Nottingham.

‘It’s a privilege to be in that position. It’s a real honour,’ Draper said following a 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 win over Frances Tiafoe in Stuttgart.

‘Right now, I am early 30s in the world, it has always been my goal to be a top-20 or top-10 player. I never thought about being the No 1 Brit.

‘I always knew it would be a strong possibility and when you look at the guys that have come before me – like Andy [Murray] and Tim Henman – it’s a big honour.’

Jack Draper has vowed to embrace the ‘honour’ of being British No 1 after rising to the top of the rankings

Draper beat 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 Frances Tiafoe in Stuttgart as he bids to win his first ATP title

Draper beat 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 Frances Tiafoe in Stuttgart as he bids to win his first ATP title

He displaced Cameron Norrie (pictured), who lost to Jack Pinnington Jones in Nottingham, at the top of the rankings

He displaced Cameron Norrie (pictured), who lost to Jack Pinnington Jones in Nottingham, at the top of the rankings

He added: ‘I don’t want to shy away. I want to be one of the number one Brits and perform as that. I’ve been playing some really good tennis.’

Up against a formidable rival in Tiafoe, Draper was in imperious form, delivering a serving masterclass, which featured 31 aces and serves up to 134mph, to seal victory and book a semi-final against Brandon Nakashima.

Draper, who is up to world No 33 in the live rankings, is aiming to win his first ATP Tour title this weekend and he found himself in reflective mood having arrived in Germany on the back of three consecutive losses on clay.

‘It was a tough time,’ he explained. ‘My game was really, really off. I felt lost on the court.

‘I have come home, tried to practise with positivity and work on my serve a lot. I am really happy with the way I am playing.

‘I am trying to be more aggressive and more positive. I am getting through the lines. I am happy with my mindset and embrace the change. Hopefully it’s a new tennis player out there.’

Draper missed the entire grass-court season a year ago, owing to a shoulder injury, but he is peaking at just the right time with Wimbledon on the horizon.

Katie Boulter, meanwhile, is defending her title in Nottingham and was made to wait to secure a semi-final spot

Katie Boulter, meanwhile, is defending her title in Nottingham and was made to wait to secure a semi-final spot

She beat Poland's Magdalena Frech 6-2, 6-4 following a lengthy rain delay, and admitted she was 'straight up panicking'

She beat Poland’s Magdalena Frech 6-2, 6-4 following a lengthy rain delay, and admitted she was ‘straight up panicking’

Elsewhere, British No 1 Katie Boulter, who is defending her title in Nottingham, waited patiently to book her spot in the semi-finals, defeating Poland’s Magdalena Frech 6-2, 6-4 following a lengthy rain delay.

The British No 1 spent the down time watching her boyfriend Alex de Minaur, who is in action in the Netherlands, play before she finished the job against Frech 6-2, 6-4.

But with an ominous black cloud hovering overhead in the final stages of the match, Boulter was honest enough to reveal the panic that had set in.

‘I was straight up panicking!’ Boulter said, of seeing the cloud. ‘I was thinking ‘I can’t do this again’. My heart-rate must have been the highest of the whole match in the last game trying to serve it out with that rain cloud coming.

‘I saw it creeping closer and closer as time was passing but I was making sure I was getting it done there and then for sure.’

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