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Quote of the Day: Jack Draper’s heart will go on after flying into US Open fourth round
The Brit was serving up 'a Titanic vibe' as he celebrated defeating Michael Mmoh 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the second week at a Grand Slam for the first time.
Published Sep 03, 2023
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Jack Draper is back, and this time he’s not letting go.
The 21-year-old made an emphatic return to action at the US Open following a disappointing stoppage, as injuries threatened to derail his sophomore season after a breakout 2022. Struggling with shoulder and abdominal injuries, the Brit was forced to miss Miami, Madrid and Rome, as well as sit out the entire grass-court swing—including Wimbledon, his home Grand Slam tournament—as he fought to stay fit.
His brief trip to Winston-Salem didn’t go to plan either, ending with Draper having to withdraw from his second-round match due to another shoulder injury—leaving him in doubt for the US Open, too.
“Definitely at the start of the week, there was real concern about my body and with the year I've had whether I'd be able to play one match,” Draper admitted in a press conference.
“...To come here this week and to play the way I have and to compete the way I have and for my body to hold up has been, it's been pretty special for me, really.”
So that’s why you’ll have to excuse Draper if his post-match celebrations are a bit more dramatic than usual.
After defeating Michael Mmoh 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 on Saturday to book his spot in the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time, his reaction after match point was giving fans a bit of Jack and Rose nostalgia on Grandstand:
Q. Celebration at the end, a bit of a Titanic vibe. What was that all about?
JACK DRAPER: I don't know! You're obviously just very pleased to get over the line. I think there was a point when, in the first game of the fourth set where we played, like, a really long point. I gave my coach a bit of a death stare after I lost the point, and I think I sort of did the same when I won the match.
No, I don't know what's going through my head at that moment. I'm obviously just extremely, extremely happy and proud of myself to get over the line.
While they say a woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets, the key to victory for Draper is definitely no mystery: Stay healthy and play consistently. The 20-year-old reached a career-high of No. 38 in January, but has slipped to No. 123 this week after struggling to stay fit.
Almost a year to the day since his US Open debut, which ended in—you guessed it—a third-round retirement due to injury, Draper is eager to right the ship and continue his Flushing Meadows charge full steam ahead.
“To come here a year on, despite maybe my ranking having dropped a fair bit because of the injuries and not being able to be on the same confidence level that I was last year, I'm incredibly proud of that and hopefully I can keep going this week,” he said.
Draper faces No. 8 seed Andrey Rublev in the US Open fourth round on Monday.