Sutton’s Jack Draper praises LTA after winning first title of the season in Sunderland

By Samuel Draper
March 5 2020, 15.00

Jack Draper won his first title of the season in Sunderland at the weekend.

Now the 18-year-old tennis player has set his sights further afield.

In the final of the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) GB Pro-Series event, Draper dominated Dutch rival Igor Sijsling, winning 6-2, 6-0 in just under an hour.

Draper said: “It’s great the LTA run these tournaments. I feel a slight advantage when playing at home.  

“It’s good to take that going into the rest of the year.”

Draper won the title in the north-east after losing in the final of the previous Pro-Series event in Glasgow.

He said: “It’s amazing to win another title and I’m really pleased with the way I’ve played this week.

“I feel like I’m in good shape at the moment and am looking forward to my next tournament.”

It proved to be a positive step for Draper, who is supported by the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme, which provides support to players with potential for a high ranking between the ages of 16 and 24.

Draper said: “The support from the LTA has helped me to fund my tennis.

“It’s also helped me with tennis analysis, to watch what I’m doing and what areas to improve on.

“It’s all on my game with the analysis, not really on my opponents.

“You can know vaguely what your opponent will do, but you’re playing him on the day.”

Coach James Trotman, who helped to improve Kyle Edmund’s game, has been an important part of Draper’s recent work on and off the court.  

Draper gradually wants to work his way into Challengers and tour events, but he has no eye on a specific ranking goal at the moment.

Draper said: “I haven’t got any expectations. I want to set the right target.”

He lived in Sutton for the first seven years of his life before he and his family moved to Surrey.

Draper doesn’t feel any additional burden despite being surrounded by tennis since he was young, even though his mother was involved in the local tennis club and his father Roger was the chairman of the LTA.

Draper said: “I’m thankful and grateful to have had that structure around me growing up.

“It probably helped because I was able to go hit with my mum or my brother, but I don’t feel any added pressure to be successful.”

After three events in Great Britain, the initial plan was to go to China for three weeks for Challengers, but this was revised a month ago because of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Now the horizon for the rising star features events in South Africa and then Israel.

Draper said: “I’ve never been to South Africa so that will be something new.

“Although all I see is the court and the bed and the food that I am eating.

“The road isn’t glamorous, but that’s the life of a tennis player.”

On his travels as a touring tennis player, he has found himself drawn north.

Draper said: “Scandinavia’s nice. Finland, Sweden. They’re indoors, they’re clean, they have nice hotels.

“I like cold weather.”

Feature image by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images for LTA.

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