Queen’s exit inspires Jack Draper to learn lessons ahead of Wimbledon

Wimbledon
Jack Draper in action

Jack Draper insisted he would try to learn lessons from his straight sets defeat to Emil Ruusuvuori in the second round of the cinch Championships, which left only one British player in the men’s singles at Queen’s Club.

The 20-year-old, who broke into the top 100 for the first time on Monday and followed it up by defeating American Taylor Fritz, lost 6-2 7-6 (2) to the Finnish qualifier.

World number 56 Ruusuvuori was in imperious form throughout and hit 29 winners while forcing nine break points in one hour and 40 minutes of fine tennis.

After Draper’s double celebration on Monday, he cut a more sombre figure after this loss but quickly turned his focus to the bigger picture and will next week play the Rothesay International Eastbourne before attention switches to Wimbledon later this month.

“I could have done a few things better, there are not many times when I get outplayed and I felt like today was one of those days. I felt he played a great match,” the British number four admitted.

“I am always pretty hard on myself but other players maybe keep it in their head for a few days but I will definitely get over it quite quickly. I am playing Eastbourne next week, Wimbledon is around the corner.

“I can definitely take some positives from this week, beating a top player in Taylor but I can also learn some lessons from today which will help me moving forward.”

Draper had reached the quarter-finals at Queen’s last summer, which proved the catalyst for an excellent 12 months that has seen him rise from 259 to 99 in the rankings after winning four ATP Challenger Tour events in 2022 alone.

With no points on offer at Wimbledon this summer, due to the All England Club’s decision to ban Russian and Belarussian athletes, the cinch Championships was one of the last opportunities for the left-hander to boost his ranking points ahead of the hard-court season.

But he insisted: “I knew going into this week I would have to defend 90 points from last year, but I was thinking in my head if you don’t want to defend the points, don’t make them.

“It is part of the sport, defending points and I have been defending points for three years now.

“Maybe this one is a bit more but at the end of the day that is how the rankings work and you have to be able to deal with that pressure and move forward. My ranking will hopefully improve as I keep improving.”

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With Draper being knocked out of the tournament, to follow Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans in suffering early exits and Andy Murray withdrawing due to injury on Monday, little-known Ryan Peniston remains the last British hope.

The 26-year-old from Southend – who stunned French Open finalist Casper Ruud in round one – faces Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo on Thursday for a place in the last eight.

Another notable exit on Wednesday was last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov losing in three sets to Tommy Paul.

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