Winston-Salem | Draper’s return stutters

Britain’s big hope, Jack Draper, following a successful return to the Tourat at the Winston-Salem Open after a three month lay-off with a shoulder injury, retired from his second match after losing the opening set on a tiebreak which doesn’t augur well for the US Open which starts on Monday.

The 21-year-old first eased himself back into competitive play by reaching the quarter finals of a Winnipeg Challenger last week, and while the 6-3 6-1 score line would indicate he wasn’t tested all that much during his 55-minute defeat of Portugal’s Nuno Borges, dropping the first set 7-6(8) against Holland’s Tallon Griekspoor, the world No.25 and second seed, in 58-minutes, did.

The 21-year-old, who was forced to retire with a shoulder injury from his first-round match in Roland Garros while trailing Argentina’s Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-4 1-0, meant he was forced to skip the whole grass court season including Wimbledon, but while cautious about his prospects, was hopeful following his run in Canada.

That injury had seen Draper drop to 123rd in world terms having reached a career high of 38 but his Winnipeg run helped him crawl back up to 118 and ensured he will be in the US Open draw.

Prior to his opening match this week, Draper admitted being nervous, saying on the ATP website: “I think with these sorts of injuries, especially the tendons, you need to be careful with them,” Draper told the ATP Tour website.

“It takes time and you have to rehab them properly. I wouldn’t say I am completely out of the woods. I have to keep on doing the right things for it and hopefully it will be OK and keep improving week by week.”

He has now appeared in three grand slam championships where he has suffered from injuries and following his last loss at the French Open, he said he ‘hates being the guy who is injured a lot’.

Hopefully this latest retirement is more of a cautionary measure as his rehabilitation continues.



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