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Jack Draper: Andy Murray inspires me to achieve great things in tennis

Jack Draper says Andy Murray continues to be a source of inspiration as the youngster continues to build on promising career; watch Murray take on Grigor Dimitrov at the Brisbane International live on Sky Sports Tennis on New Year's Day from 8.30am UK time

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Jack Draper discusses the impact that Andy Murray has had on his career.

Jack Draper says Andy Murray inspires him to want to achieve great things in tennis, while he believes he can be one of the best young players in the world by the end of 2024.

The 21-year-old became the youngest Brit since Murray in 2009 to reach an ATP Tour final at the Sofia Open in November, following on from a career-best fourth-round run at the US Open.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports and former British women's No 1 Laura Robson, Draper says that Murray - who won the first of his three Grand Slam titles at Flushing Meadows in 2012 - continues to be a source of inspiration.

Andy Murray in action during a men's singles match at the 2023 US Open (AP)
Image: Long-time British No 1 Andy Murray has won three Grand Slam titles in his career

"He helped me before I even knew him; he's the one inspired me to so want to achieve great things in tennis," Draper said.

"I remember watching him win Wimbledon in 2013. I remember him winning the Olympic Games in 2012, and when he played mixed doubles with you [Robson].

"He's just someone who has been so inspirational for me and, through his injury, his message of overall discipline and everything is amazing.

"But, more importantly, we all know within British tennis that even though he's a champion, he is also a very humble down to earth, kind, funny guy. That's a real lesson in itself.

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"He loves watching the younger generation do well, especially from the home country, and we're very lucky to have that support from such a guy like him."

Draper has 'big aspirations' to be among game's best

Murray has played his career in the era of the 'Big Four', alongside Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer, who have dominated the sport to win 24, 22 and 20 titles respectively.

Novak Djokovic holds up the championship trophy after defeating Daniil Medvedev at the US Open in the men's singles final
Image: Novak Djokovic holds up the championship trophy after defeating Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final

While Djokovic's dominance shows no sign of abating - the Serb claiming three of the four Slams in 2023 - Federer has now retired, while 2024 is rumoured to be Nadal's final year competing.

Draper has nothing but respect for they've achieved. "It's hard to even put into words what they've done for the sport," he said.

"Rafa winning 14 Roland Garros' [French Open], I honestly don't think that's ever going to happen again.

"There's Djokovic breaking records every week. The guy is just inevitable… and he seems to be improving all the time.

"And there's obviously Federer, with his greatness and the exceptional results he had as well.

"I think their records are going to be hard to match. They're going to go down as probably the best three or four players of all time. They're just legends."

That said, Draper believes the future of the men's game is in safe hands, with 20-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz leading the way among a young generation of emerging talent coming through, with two Grand Slam titles already to his name.

Italy's Jannik Sinner, right, embraces Serbia's Novak Djokovic at the end of the match
Image: Promising Italian youngster Jannik Sinner was beaten in the final by Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals

Holger Rune of Denmark, also 20, is another tipped for great things, while Casper Ruud, 24, has already reached three Slam finals and 23-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner - a friend of Draper's reached the final of this year's ATP Finals, losing out to Djokovic.

"I think tennis is in a really exciting place," Draper said. "There's two or three young players standing out the most at the moment and then it's up to the rest of us to try and compete with them and get up to their level.

"I think it's going to be a really exciting time. It kind of always seemed that Djokovic or Rafa would be in a final; it's going to be a lot more open than it ever was.

"I have big, big aspirations for myself to be up there."

Draper added on his hopes for 2024: "I've had long enough now, a year and a bit on tour to sort of find my feet a little.

"I've had injuries but, at the back end of this year, I have shown myself that I've kept on improving and have stayed injury free.

"I don't see any reason why, at the end of this time next year, I can't be right there with them [at the top]."

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