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Headlinesn > Sports > Jack Draper builds anticipation for his battle of Britain with Cameron Norrie
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Jack Draper builds anticipation for his battle of Britain with Cameron Norrie

Jack Draper has built up Thursday’s Wimbledon battle of Britain with Cameron Norrie by insisting: “He won’t like the fact that I’m number one!”

Draper set up a second-round meeting with Norrie, the man he replaced as the nation’s top-ranked male player a fortnight ago, after a five-set win over qualifier Elias Ymer.

The 22-year-old said: “I think we have huge respect for each other, for one. We’ve practised together so many times and been a part of Davis Cup together.

“I wouldn’t say we’re extremely close, but we definitely support each other. We definitely have a great relationship.

Jack Draper beat Elias Ymer in five sets (Mike Egerton/PA)
Jack Draper beat Elias Ymer in five sets (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

“Obviously he won’t like the fact that I’m British number one now. I’m a lot younger.

“Dan (Evans) and Cam definitely probably won’t like seeing me being British number one. I think that creates a really healthy rivalry and environment.

“I think we all have great respect for each other. We all want to see each other succeed and do well. It’s nice to practice with him when I can. For sure, we’re all competitors, we’re all individuals.

“We want to win. We want to do the best we can. I think it’s going to be a really competitive match on Thursday. There won’t be any love lost, for sure.”

Draper had earlier stepped into Andy Murray’s shoes and immediately became embroiled in one of the Scot’s trademark late-night five-set marathons.

His match with Ymer was upgraded to Centre Court following two-time champion Murray’s withdrawal from the singles.

Yet with the roof shutting and the clock clicking past 9pm, it could have easily been Murray serving up the post-watershed drama.

Draper had recovered from dropping the first set against the Swede to lead 2-1.

Cameron Norrie swept past Facundo Diaz Acosta in three sets (Jordan Pettitt/PA)
Cameron Norrie swept past Facundo Diaz Acosta in three sets (Jordan Pettitt/PA) (PA Wire)

But lapses in concentration allowed Ymer, ranked a lowly 205 in the world, to bring the match level with Draper angrily hitting his racket against the ground.

But Draper gathered himself, regained his composure and eventually came through 3-6 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3 in three hours and 18 minutes.

Norrie had a far easier path, setting aside his recent grass-court struggles with a straight-sets success over debutant Facundo Diaz Acosta.

The 28-year-old was a semi-finalist in 2022 but this summer suffered first-round exits at Queen’s and Eastbourne.

Obviously he won’t like the fact that I’m British number one now. I’m a lot younger

Jack Draper

“I would say yeah,” replied Norrie when asked if will be the underdog for Thursday’s match. “Definitely, he’s ranked ahead of me.

“His results have been better than mine, especially over the grass court season. He beat (Carlos) Alcaraz in Queen’s. I think it’s pretty obvious that he’s the favourite there.

“For me, it’s a surprise kind of being the underdog for the first time in a while. I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to have to play my best level to have a chance with Jack. He’s playing so well at the moment.

“Yeah, it’s going to be a challenge to play against him, but I’m looking forward to it. Yeah, I can go out, nothing to lose.”

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