Jack Draper vs Andy Murray: Battle of Britain clash at Indian Wells offers acid test as new and old collide

Old friends, new foes: Andy Murray and Jack Draper will go head to head at Indian Wells (Getty Images for Battle of the B)
Old friends, new foes: Andy Murray and Jack Draper will go head to head at Indian Wells (Getty Images for Battle of the B)

A decade since Jack Draper sat in awe watching Andy Murray win his first Wimbledon title, the new and old of British tennis will meet for the first time on the ATP Tour on Monday.

Draper and Murray had a coming together of sorts on court at December’s Battle of the Brits, which Murray, at 35 the senior of the pair by 14 years, won in a super tiebreak.

But their Indian Wells meeting is the first official encounter and provides an acid test for both players. Murray has had a strong start to 2023 giving him belief he can still aspire to major tournament wins, while Draper is continuing his rise up the world order.

Ahead of the match, Draper said: “It’s something that I’m looking forward to. I expect the match to be an extremely tricky one. He’s come through a lot of matches recently, he’s playing with confidence and I think his body’s in a really good place as well at the moment.”

Draper readily admits that sitting on Centre Court for the 2013 Wimbledon final, he had aspirations to be like Murray. During the Covid lockdown, that relationship changed with the pair instead becoming practice partners, to the point that they know each other’s games inside out.

“He’s a good friend and still someone that I look up to and someone that I receive advice from all the time,” Draper said. “He’s an amazing champion and a very good human being as well.”

Murray has been repeatedly effusive about Draper’s game and his future. After a comfortable win over Radu Albot at the weekend, he said: “It will be a good match. He’s not actually competed that much on the tour but, when he has, he’s always performed really well. I think he’s going to be a top, top player for a long time, providing he stays healthy.”

Also in action on Monday is Emma Raducanu, who will be hoping to continue her strong early showing against Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Meanwhile, British No1 Cameron Norrie booked his place in the fourth round at Indian Wells after recovering from a set down to defeat Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-7, 7-5, 6-2. He faces a tough opponent next in Russian No6 seed Andrey Rublev.