World No 111 Dominic Stricker rode Jack Draper ranked lights-out serving past 41st in Milan, notching a 4-3(5), 4-3(5), 4-3(5) victory on his Next Gen ATP Finals debut. The 20-year-old Swiss dropped just one first-serve point in the second and third sets connected as he bounded the rising Brit in a tight battle of big serves and first strikes.
Stricker becomes the first player to win a match in straight sets with all tiebreaks in Next Gen ATP Finals history.
The Swiss have had a solid season, clinching two ATP Challenger Tour titles and earning three Top 40 wins (Cressy, Van de Zandschulp, and Karatsev) in 2022.
Jack Draper says he beat off one of his objectives for the season by qualifying for the ATP NextGen finals talent Brit will take on seven of the best Under-21 tennis players in the world.
The 20-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough year climbing from No. 265 to No. 41 in the ATP Rankings and taking on tours some huge scalps.
Draper’s form made him a place at the Next Gen Finals in Milan this week, where he will share a group with Lorenzo Musetti, Chun-Hsin Tseng, and Dominic Stricker.
Fast forward 11 months, the 20-year-old arrives at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan as the World No. 41, a 17-12 tour-level record holding on the season. Draper feels that he Struggled with injuries in previous years his ability to stay fit in 2022 has been paramount to his rise.
Draper holds that it has been the first season he has been able to play lots of ATPTour.com. With his injuries in the past few years, he had not been able to play as much as he had wanted some unfortunate injuries. For the sample, he did some ligaments in his ankles. Just not getting that consistency of practicing and competing. I think that is the biggest thing this year being able to stay fit for healthy on the court. He was ready physically and mentally to put it on the court together.
Draper missed the second half of 2021 due to a ruptured ligament in his ankle and started on fire, winning four ATP Challenger Tour season titles in the opening four months of the year.
The Briton holds a 24-4 record on the Challenger Tour in 2022 and feels the adventures he has gained at that level have been crucial in his development.
Draper said that he thinks the Challenger Tour was massive for players. When you come through and start winning the tournament back-to-back gives you immense confidence you can come on Tour and compete with these guys. Everyone on the Challenger level is hungry to do well because that gets you onto the Tour. The Challenger Tour has given me a base and confidence coming onto the Tour. It gives you a terrific platform.
After the year, Draper, who supports Manchester United Football Club and enjoys listening to rap and grime music, started to gain entrance into tour-level events, where he quickly made his mark.
The lefty won main draw matches at ATP Masters 1000 events in Miami and Madrid and soared to his first tour-level semi-final on home soil in Eastbourne. Draper made his biggest splash in North America and earned his first Top 10 win against Stefanos before he upset Tsitsipas en route to the quarter-finals in Montreal Felix Auger-Aliassime at the US Open.
Draper said that he thinks the most satisfying run was [at] the US Open. He feels beat two players [Emil] Ruusuvuori and Auger-Aliassime are top players and people I have been watching the past couple of years. The win against Auger-Aliassime gave me confidence that I play well and compete with these guys. The Tsitsipas win at Montreal. Playing those top players and getting wins feeling comfortable is crucial.
Possess a big forehand, fearsome serve, and rock-solid backhand. Draper is ready to bring his most useful level to Milan. He makes his debut at the 21-and-under events held from 8-12 November.
Draper said it was a goal [to qualify] from the start of the year. I have watched the event over the past couple of years looks like an exciting event with lots of great players and young players coming. I tried not to pay too much awareness to qualify as I know there are so many young players doing great things as well, but I suppose I put in the work he kept on banking good weeks.
You don’t get to play in many tournaments where just eight players are competing. They are all guys who come onto the scene and are exciting prospects. I think that is the exciting thing, that you are playing guys who are a similar age, and playing great tennis has been consistent throughout the year.
Draper was joined with the Allianz Cloud by seven fellow NextGenATP stars, including Lorenzo Musetti, Holger Rune, and Brandon Nakashima. The Briton is excited to test his mettle against the trio in Milan as he looks to build long-running rivalries with them.
Seeing the likes of Musetti, Rune, and Nakashima had great years. Draper admits they are probably the guys he is most excited about it. He feels like they have always had to be good players standing grew up in that age gap. Musetti has always been around at the junior tournaments has been good to see him have a bit of a breakthrough year this year.