Draper thrilled with his journey despite falling at last hurdle
Jack Draper fell at the final hurdle in his bid to become the first home winner of the Wimbledon boys’ singles title in 56 years.
But British tennis could still have a new young star after Draper pushed world junior number one and top seed Tseng Chun-hsin all the way.
The 16-year-old son of former Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper thrilled a huge crowd on Court One with some audacious shot-making during his 6-1 6-7 (2/7) 6-4 defeat.
The highlight from the left-hander was a game secured with a ‘hot dog’ shot through his legs to level the second set at 6-6.
Some of the histrionics might need to be toned down, though.
The dance move at the net from Draper after breaking back for 4-4 in the third probably riled his opponent, while a few games earlier a racket was a casualty of his frustration.
Tseng, also 16 and already up to 601 in the senior rankings, had raced away with the first four games before Draper got on the scoreboard.
A huge cheer went up when Draper held his serve with a fantastic forehand down the line.
The roars were even louder when Draper, who spent four hours and 24 minutes overcoming Colombia’s Nicolas Mejia in the semi-final, grabbed a break of serve early in the second set.
Tseng broke back but the momentum was well and truly with Surrey-born Draper and he charged through the tie-break to take the match into a decider.
Breaks were exchanged throughout the third set, but it was Tseng who grabbed what turned out to be the crucial one to lead 5-4.
He finished Draper off with a second serve ace down the middle.
Draper hopes to be back next year for the junior event, having got a taste for the big stage.
“I felt the adrenaline from the crowd, having that many people watching me was a surreal feeling,” he said.
“In the first set it was the sense of occasion and there was a tiny bit of pressure on me as a Brit, but I went from there.
“It gave me a lot of confidence, it was amazing.
“I’m still taking it in, it’s been an unbelievable week.”