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Jubilant Draper praises LTA for boom in British tennis

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Draper, 20, started his grass court season with a confident 6-2 6-2 win over fellow Brit Billy Harris on Centre Court (Getty/LTA)
Draper, 20, started his grass court season with a confident 6-2 6-2 win over fellow Brit Billy Harris on Centre Court (Getty/LTA)

Jubilant Jack Draper saluted the input of the LTA for doing ‘an amazing job’ of promoting the boom in British tennis as he stormed into the quarter-finals of the Rothesay International Eastbourne.

The 20-year-old Sutton star, who is on the LTA's Pro Scholarship Programme – the highest level of support for players aged 16-24 – stunned world No.15 Diego Schwartzman 7-5 7-6 (3) in Eastbourne on Wednesday evening.

And he saluted the input of the game’s governing body in Britain for fuelling a run of success that has seen homegrown heroes like Ryan Peniston, Harriet Dart and Katie Boulter serve up some sparkling wins on grass courts over the last month.

“The LTA have done an amazing job of cultivating something better in British tennis,” said Draper. “A more performance-based and the National Tennis Centre is an incredible venue and the players love training there and the environment for the players is so much better.

“So I think everybody understands how tough this sport is and how good you have to be and how lonely it is at times.

“We all try to push each other to be better and to move up the rankings, but yes I think in general the LTA have done an amazing job. I know people are quick to slag them off but I will be the first to say they really changed the way British tennis is.”

Draper also thanked the south coast crowd after storming into the LTA's Rothesay International Eastbourne quarter-finals, as he keen to emphasise the role of the buoyant fans in Sussex.

Draper, 20, said: "The crowd really helped me at the end. That was really tough. We all get nervous, but I'm so happy that I came through.

"I think Diego is an amazing player. It is so tough to hit the ball past him.

"I got a bit tentative at times, but it was tough out here with the wind, and it's nice to get the job done.

"I'll get a bit of rest, have some dinner, sleep well and practice well tomorrow.  I'll be out here again.

"Playing these guys and beating these guys is really important for me and significant, but at the same time, I know it is on a grass court.

"I know that this season is short and that there are not a lot of players who earn a living on a grass court."

Draper, the world No.108, defeated American Jenson Brooksby in the last 32 to set up the clash on Centre Court qnd he went on to grab another win over one of the world’s top players, which will take him back into the world’s top 100 next week.

Draper added: "I got a bit tight at the end, but these things happen, and I am glad to get the win today.

"It's tough, I think sometimes your brain can play tricks on you, and it is about trying to stay present.

"I have got a few things breathing-wise that I can try to incorporate, but as you say, it is not easy."

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA Website

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