Jack Draper admits he has been ‘motivated’ by Carlos Alcaraz’s Wimbledon triumph

A year ago Jack Draper sat on his sofa watching near contemporary Carlos Alcaraz lift the Wimbledon title and plotting his way to the top.

A shoulder injury was the latest and most painful physical problem for Draper, forcing him to miss the whole grass-court season and dropping his ranking back outside the top 100.

“It was really difficult,” he said. “I obviously didn’t just miss this one. I missed Queen’s, the whole grass. I think I sat on my couch for most of it, just kind of really frustrated, watching all the matches.

“I watched the (Liam) Broady-(Casper) Ruud match, which was amazing to see Broads doing well. I watched the full final, which was hard to watch obviously someone so young winning the title, showing what he’s capable of.

“It really, really motivated me and was actually I think a blessing in disguise because my body wasn’t ready. I don’t think mentally I was ready either to be a top player. It was a good break that I needed to rediscover the fire I needed. From there, I’ve been great.”

Twelve months on, things are very different. Draper is the British number one, ranked 29th and seeded for the first time at a grand slam, and has just won his first ATP Tour title in Stuttgart before posting a career-best win over Alcaraz at Queen’s.

The 22-year-old’s leaping, jubilant celebration showed just what that meant and now he is being talked about again as a player who can potentially rival Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner at the top of the sport.

Jack Draper celebrates beating Carlos Alcaraz at Queen's
Jack Draper celebrates beating Carlos Alcaraz at Queen’s (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“I’ve come a long way in a year and I’m very proud of that,” said Draper. “I just want to keep going.

“I’m excited to see after Wimbledon, as well, leading into the Olympics, the hard courts, that’s when we’ll really see where my tennis is at. The grass, you do get away with certain things.

“If my game keeps on improving, I keep the mindset, and keep on improving physically like I have been, I don’t see there’s any reason why I can’t be one of the best players in the world. That’s my aspiration, that’s my goal.”

One significant factor in Draper’s recent success has been the addition of former top-10 player Wayne Ferreira to his team alongside main coach James Trotman.

A newly-aggressive mindset has been key to his big wins on grass this month, and Draper said of the South African: “He came in, was very blunt that certain things in my game, if I want to be one of the best in the world, really need to change.

Jack Draper, left, with new coach Wayne Ferreira on the practice courts
Jack Draper, left, with new coach Wayne Ferreira on the practice courts (John Walton/PA)

“Just trying to make my game a more aggressive baseliner instead of someone who makes a lot of balls and waits for the other players to miss.

“I got myself to being top 40 in the world a certain way. But I realise, by coming up against a lot of top-10 players, that’s just not going to quite cut it.

“He’s been amazing coming on board. He works amazingly well with Trots and the team. It’s exciting to see where my game is going to go from here.

“Everything feels good now. I’m definitely feeling a lot more fearless on the court, but I also have practised it enough and I’ve prepared well enough that I know those shots are more likely to go in than they used to before.”