Cramp ruins Jack Draper’s brave attempt to oust defending champion Rafael Nadal

When Jack Draper came back to the locker room he felt the full pain he had when trying to pass Rafael Nadal, deep muscle spasms gripped his ribs.

It was mainly his thighs that had cramped on the pitch, making him wonder what could have been done with more physical strength.

In the wake of a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 defeat he had once again shown that he is a promising player when it comes to trading groundstrokes.

Jack Draper felt the full pain as he tried to pass Rafael Nada after their match on Monday

Jack Draper felt the full pain as he tried to pass Rafael Nada after their match on Monday

No surprise for the superb Spaniard, who was relieved to have a win on the board after two losses this season.

“He’s a great player with a lot of potential, young, with a great future ahead of him,” Nadal said. “It was a tough, tough game, full of respect for him.

“I think it’s just spasmodic what happened to him at the end, but I think he’s in the right position to have a very productive season. I’m happy that I was able to win against a great player.”

Draper knows he must add endurance to a wide repertoire of recordings for such warm words to be born.

Draper made his Australian Open debut against defending champion Nadal (above)

Draper made his Australian Open debut against defending champion Nadal (above)

This was the seventh time in eight games that he has lost after more than two and a half hours. As Nadal stretched his encounter deeper towards the eventual finishing time of three hours and 41 minutes, the odds were stacked more and more in his favour.

The defending champion’s own performance was choppy and riddled with more mistakes than usual, but Draper’s powerful shot was related.

“To go toe-to-toe with him on a pitch that big is special,” said Draper. “I think I can take away the fact that my tennis is getting closer and closer. And physically I’ll be the first to say that I’m still a work in progress.

He also struggled at the US Open and was eliminated in his third round by Karen Khachanov after dominating him.

The British star (above) showed what a promising player he was in the 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 defeat

The British star (above) showed what a promising player he was in the 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 defeat

“I just need to investigate why I’m getting it (cramps) but I also know I’ve only just really started with my fitness trainer that I’ve invested in (Croatian Dejan Vojinovic).

‘ I almost felt like my tennis was right there at the start of the third. I almost felt like I was in control of the game at that point.

“If I had continued like this, who knows? When I went to Australia for this trip I was very overcooked to be honest.

“I was really excited to do a big preseason. This is a good chance to train really well for five weeks, especially with my new personal trainer. I had two viral infections so I had to take antibiotics twice. I lost five of those seven weeks.’

Nadal said Draper was

Nadal said Draper is “a great player with a lot of potential and a great future ahead of him”.

The spasms first emerged shortly after Draper played an imperious second set to unnerve his famous opponent.

It is obvious that he has to work on his stamina, but less so that he also has to learn more about the choice of shot. That was his undoing in the first set, when he played a few rash drop shots when he was otherwise up against a player he idolized as a kid.

Draper’s next scheduled appearance will be on clay early next month in Bogotá in the difficult qualifying round for the British Davis Cup against Colombia. At this height, his big serve and heavily twisted forehand should be deadly.

If he wants to be a role model, all he has to do is look at British left-hander Cam Norrie, the ultimate stayer.

Draper's next scheduled appearance will be next month's British Davis Cup qualifying round

Draper’s next scheduled appearance will be next month’s British Davis Cup qualifying round

Dan Evans and Andy Murray were scheduled to play overnight but Kyle Edmund drove home after a first-round loss 4-6 0-6 2-6 to young Italian Jannik Sinner

Dan Evans and Andy Murray were scheduled to play overnight but Kyle Edmund drove home after a first-round loss 4-6 0-6 2-6 to young Italian Jannik Sinner

Partly a bit nervous, Norrie won 7: 6, 6: 0, 6: 3 against the French teenager Luca Van Assche, who was believed to have great potential. The British no. 1 now meets another Frenchman in Constant Lestienne and has the best chance of a GB player making it through week two.

Dan Evans and Andy Murray were scheduled to play overnight but Kyle Edmund drove home after a first-round loss 4-6 0-6 2-6 to young Italian Jannik Sinner.

For 2018 semi-finalist Edmund, that was probably always too difficult a proposition at the time. He is on the long way back from three surgeries but reported no ill effects from his problematic knee.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-11641545/Cramp-wrecks-Jack-Drapers-brave-bid-oust-defending-champion-Rafael-Nadal.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Cramp ruins Jack Draper’s brave attempt to oust defending champion Rafael Nadal

Maureen Mackey

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