Adelaide | Draper gets 2024 campaign off to a good start

Jack Draper hopes that his trip down under won’t see him repeating last year’s brief appearance at the Australian Open which acted as a precursor to an injury hit season.

I feel confident that I can do well there.” Jack Draper

He arrived in Adelaide full of confidence and is certainly keen to make an impression at this year’s opening grand slam after cramping badly during his first-round defeat to Rafa Nadal 12 months ago.

Considering he was struggling to find a way to deal with cramp, he did well to take a set off the 22-time grand slam champion, eventually capitulating 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-1.

At the ASB Classic in Adelaide, a warm-up event for Melbourne which starts on Sunday, he comfortably defeated Argentina’s Sebastian Baez, the fifth seed, 6-1 6-3.

“I don’t remember much from [Australia] last year, to be honest,” the 22-year-old told reporters after winning his opener. “I played the semi-final here [at the Adelaide International 2], then I think I caught a flight, and then I was playing the next day and then I lost [to Nadal] and I was out that night. It was kind of a weird feeling. It felt like it went very quickly. I don’t remember much about playing Rafa or anything like that. It all felt a bit of a blur.

“Depending on how this week goes, I’m really excited to be back in Australia, and I feel like, again, I’m in a better position to hopefully do well in the tournament. I feel confident that I can do well there.”

Looking back all seemed to turn against him when the grass court season arrived.

“I was in a good position, and then there was a stage come grass where it just seemed like it was all going wrong, lots of injuries and stuff.

“After that sort of period of being out from the French Open until after Wimbledon, kind of changed quite a lot of things – tried to really work hard on my body, and also being out, it’s tough seeing other players do well and all these sort of things.

“I came back really motivated and had a good US Open [reaching the round of 16], and then that gave me a lot of confidence going into the end of the year with Davis Cup and Sofia. I think I won a Challenger, as well. I think I’ve been building a lot of good practices and a lot of matches at the end of last year, so I feel confident coming into this year.”

Dan Evans is also in draw and he is facing the Aussie wild card Rinky Hijikata in his opener which is scheduled for Tuesday.

The American Tommy Paul is the top seed with Chile’s Nicolas Jarry at No. 2 at the bottom of the draw.



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