Jack Draper revealed he suffered from an "aggressive" case of coronavirus in January, which he caught after training at the National Tennis Centre; the talented British teenager also said: "I've really got the desire and the motivation to be a great tennis player"
Thursday 25 March 2021 21:51, UK
British teenager Jack Draper says he is unsure whether a bad case of COVID-19 in January may have attributed to his on-court collapse at the Miami Open on Thursday.
Draper dramatically collapsed with apparent heat exhaustion during his ATP Tour debut against Mikhail Kukushkin at the Miami Open.
The 19-year-old Briton struggled in the Florida heat and humidity and had his heart-rate checked and blood pressure taken before falling to the floor.
After being swiftly attended to by medics he was sitting up with an ice pack on his neck when the umpire called the match for Kukushkin.
Draper was able to walk off court and speaking to the media having fully recovered after treatment, he revealed, like Andy Murray, he caught coronavirus in January after training at the National Tennis Centre, while injuries and the restrictions of the pandemic have stalled his progress.
"I was out for two weeks with COVID in January," he said. "I didn't move a muscle and that was after pre-season as well, so I put in a really good pre-season and then I didn't play so it's been a rough start to the year.
"I found out that I had COVID at a time when I was at the NTC, but whether it came from there I have no idea. For the record I thought, whatever has been said, the LTA [Lawn Tennis Association] has done an incredible job of handling the COVID situation.
"There were lots of precautions in place and I thought they handled it really well.
"I got it, it's obviously an extremely aggressive virus and you can catch it from anywhere, but I got it and it did affect me quite badly for seven days. I had bad symptoms and then I recovered pretty quickly from there, but it definitely had an effect on me.
"I've put in loads of great training since then, so it's no excuse, but did it have an effect on me at the time? Probably. With a lot of these things you don't know how much it really affects you."
Draper, who reached the final of the 2018 Wimbledon boys' singles, is determined to push forward, saying: "This year I've really got the desire and the motivation to be a great tennis player. There's been times in the past where maybe I've been a bit apprehensive about that. But as I've got older I've started to really realise what I'm capable of."
The left-hander spoke about "being in good hands" working at JET academy alongside coach Ryan Jones and fitness trainer, Martin Skinner, who has worked alongside Nick Kyrgios.
"I'm in really good hands and my teams is really stable," he added. "I'm very happy with my potential going forward."
Draper now plans to travel back to the UK where he aims to take part at the Pro-Series in Loughborough, which consists of seven matches in seven days, before playing a couple of Challenger events on clay in Italy ahead of the grass-court season.