Draper Shines in Davis Cup Debut
Jack Draper’s impressive performance in the Davis Cup earned him a well-deserved debut for Great Britain. Captain Leon Smith’s decision to pick Draper ahead of higher-ranked players like Cameron Norrie and Andy Murray paid off as the 21-year-old delivered a thrilling match.
Draper, facing Thanasi Kokkinakis, showcased his talent by breaking Kokkinakis when he served for the match. Despite being 4-2 down in the deciding tie-break, Draper rallied to secure a 6-7 (6), 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory that thrilled the 9,000-strong crowd at the AO Arena. This win marked his successful Davis Cup debut.
Evans Secures Vital Win
Following Draper’s triumph, Dan Evans took on world number 12 Alex De Minaur, the highest-ranked player in the group. Evans, who had recently won a significant title in Washington and reached the third round of the US Open, extended his tour-level winning record against De Minaur to 3-0. After a 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 victory, Britain had an unassailable lead in the tie.
Team’s Progress Assured
With this win, Great Britain secured their progress in the Davis Cup, needing a top-two finish in the group to advance to the quarter-finals. Matches against Switzerland and France still awaited them.
Draper’s Remarkable Debut
Jack Draper celebrated his remarkable Davis Cup debut by hitting the bullseye, referencing the team’s off-court darts games. He expressed his joy and gratitude for the opportunity, emphasizing the immense crowd support and trust placed in him by Captain Leon Smith.
Smith’s Selection Pays Off
Captain Smith’s decision to select Draper over more experienced players was vindicated by the young talent’s stellar performance. Draper, despite battling injuries throughout the season, displayed the confidence gained from his run in New York.
A Thrilling Battle
The match against Kokkinakis was a tight contest, with both players showing remarkable resilience. Draper broke Kokkinakis to start the second set, and despite setbacks, he staged an inspiring comeback in the decider.
Draper’s Nerves and Preparation
Reflecting on his selection, Draper admitted to feeling nervous as he prepared to make his Davis Cup debut. However, his confidence, honed through tough matches at the US Open, helped him overcome those nerves. He described the experience as amazing and one of his best matches of the season.
Kokkinakis, who has faced his share of injuries and struggles in closing out matches, expressed his frustration at letting nerves affect his performance. He credited Draper for playing well when it mattered but acknowledged that the defeat stung.
This performance by Draper and the team’s overall success in the Davis Cup were significant achievements for Great Britain.