Britain's Draper seizes spotlight after Murray misery

Centre Court ticket holders had anticipated witnessing Andy Murray’s final moment at Wimbledon on Tuesday, but instead, they discovered a new star in British tennis: 22-year-old Jack Draper.

Despite some tense moments as the talented left-hander was pushed hard by valiant Swedish qualifier Elias Ymer, eventually triumphing 3-6 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3, the spectators were impressed with what they saw.

Twice Wimbledon champion and former world number one Murray withdrew from the singles earlier that morning, unable to recover in time after undergoing surgery to remove a spinal cyst. Though fans were disappointed to miss the 37-year-old Murray in action for what would be his final Wimbledon, they ended the day applauding Draper’s advance to the second round under the Centre Court roof.

“You came here to watch Andy, but you got stuck with me instead,” Draper remarked on court. “The crowd’s support was incredible; I love playing in front of so many people.” Asked about stepping into Murray’s shoes, the man who led British tennis for over a decade, Draper responded: “It’s an honour when you think of the number ones before me—Tim Henman, Andy, and Cam Norrie.”

“I wouldn’t be here without Andy; he’s truly exceptional.”

Draper caused a sensation by defeating the reigning Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz at Queen’s Club, setting the stage for the All England Club fortnight, and surpassing Norrie to become Britain’s new number one.

Entering a Grand Slam as a seeded player for the first time, ranked 28th, Draper faced challenges against Ymer’s impressive shot-making but displayed a Murray-like determination to prevent an upset.

Ymer, at 28 years old, has never fully lived up to his potential and is currently ranked outside the top 200. Nevertheless, he played brilliantly in the first set, while Draper appeared momentarily burdened by the heightened expectations.

However, once Draper started unleashing his powerful groundstrokes with precision, he turned the match around by winning the next two sets, positioning himself for a swift conclusion.

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