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New British No 1 could be crowned before the start of Wimbledon – Tennis365



Cameron Norrie has enjoyed a long reign as the British No 1, but he could be deposed at the top of the rankings in the next few weeks.

Norrie suffered a slump in form in the second half of 2023, which saw him struggle to string match wins together and his ranking take a hit.

That downward turn has continued at the start of this year, with his semi-final exit from last week’s ATP 500 event in Rio a blow to his ranking after he won that tournament last year, while he also pulled out of this week’s tournament in Acapulco due to fatigue.

Now there is a real chance that Norrie could be overhauled as British No 1 by the time the tennis roadshow moves to the UK and the grass court season this summer.

With British No 2 Dan Evans struggling and Andy Murray seemingly heading towards retirement at Wimbledon in July, Norrie’s biggest threat could come from rising star Jack Draper.

Draper avenged his Australian Open defeat to Tommy Paul to book a place in the last 16 of the Mexican Open on Monday, with the manner catching the eye.

The British No 3 raced through the first set against the seventh seed, winning 6-0 in just over half an hour.

His American rival, who beat Draper in the second round in Melbourne after losing their two previous meetings, proved stiffer proposition in the second set.

Games remained on serve until Draper cashed in on his second break point to win 6-4.

It was a sparkling victory for Draper, who is currently ranked at No 50 in the ATP list and could rise above his career high of No 38 if he continues to impress on American hard courts in the coming weeks.

Asdide from the 90 points he has to defend at Indian Wells next month, Draper has a chance to make up ground in the ATP rankings as his injury issues caught up with him this time last year.

He went on to miss the entire grass court season in the UK and admits that time away from the court allowed him to reassess his ambitions.

READ MORE: Speculation swirls over Andy Murray’s retirement as possible final schedule emerges

“I had to learn a lot about myself last year, and I dropped outside the top 100,” said Draper.

“I had to grind myself back. I feel like I’m just a lot stronger mentally and I have a lot more perspective of being in a good position.

“I was gutted to miss Wimbledon last summer. Watching it on TV and seeing all the hype around it was tough. Not being able to play at Queen’s and Eastbourne was also frustrating.

“In terms of my tennis, I feel like I’m improving. I’m trying to come forward more.

“I’m trying to win the points instead of letting the other players make a mistake or something, which is what I feel like I was trying to do last year. I feel like both things I’ve improved.

“Pre-season has gone well for me. Training at the National Tennis Centre in London was fantastic, I had a few days playing the UTS event against some top players and I’m coming to Australia feeling good.”

When asked to give a verdict on where he wants to take his rankisng by the end of the year, Draper didn’t hold back with his ambition.

“I have spoken about rankings goals with my coach and if I can stay injury-free and stay on the trajectory I have been on since last summer, there is no reason why I can’t be ranked in the top 20 by the end of this year,” he continued.

“That’s my goal, that’s where I want to be. I know I can go a lot further than that, but one step at a time and that’s a good goal for me.”





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Javier Medina

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