Emotional toll weighs on Draper after stellar grass run

British No.1 sees winning streak on grass end at seven with Queen's loss

Jack Draper was beaten in three sets by Tommy Paul in the quarter-finals of the cinch Championships at Queen's

By Paul Eddison, Sportsbeat

Jack Draper admitted that the emotion of his stellar grass-court run caught up with him as he was beaten in the quarter-finals of the LTA's cinch Championships at Queen’s.

The newly-crowned British No.1 won his first ATP title last week in Stuttgart before beating reigning Wimbledon, French Open and Queen’s champion Carlos Alcaraz in west London.

But his seven-match winning streak on grass came to an end after a three-set loss to No.5 seed Tommy Paul, with Draper beaten 6-3 5-7 6-4.

And having played so much high-level tennis over a short space of time, the 22-year-old acknowledged that he still has some work to do to get the consistency needed to achieve his ambitions.

He said: “I thought Tommy came out playing really well. He played a good match throughout. I felt like conditions were definitely a bit trickier, it was quite windy, quite swirly. It was tough to play the tennis I wanted to play, but we have to deal with that. It’s part of the game. I felt like I was having to really get myself going. Maybe because the last couple of weeks are catching up with me a little bit.

“Physically, I felt good, my body has been great. It just becomes mentally quite taxing having to go day after day. I finished Stuttgart on Sunday, I got here very, very late on Sunday. I was training and then went in again on Tuesday. Then the match yesterday, it felt like there was quite a lot of emotional energy invested in that.

“I’m definitely having to pick myself up, I felt quite flat at times, and I think that showed in my decision-making at times in the match. I played a few more sloppy shots than I wanted to. But if I want to be one of the best players in the world, then I have to keep backing up my performances and get used to going deep every week. That’s what I want to do and what was disappointing about this one.”

Set to enter the world’s top 30 next week, Draper has ambitions of moving even higher up the rankings.

He will spend the next week recovering and preparing for Wimbledon, where he is set to be seeded following this run on grass.

And this loss was a reminder to Draper of exactly what it will take to rise even higher in the rankings.

He said: “If you want to be a top, top player in the world, you have to back up results week by week, day by day. You know you are in a great place and are one of the best in the world when you are able to do that.

“Every day we are facing amazing tennis players who can beat you. If you are not quite on your game, for instance today, you lose the match. That is the next stage for me now. I want to try to go deep in tournaments and back it up every week.

“My body is in a good place, these are just things I have to get used to at the highest level and learn. I’m still young so I’m trying to piece a lot of things together. It was my first title last week, I’ve done it at Challengers and Futures, but it’s very different on the main tour so I probably need a bit more time.”

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