Jack Draper could be the next young star to benefit from playing alongside Andy and Jamie Murray at the Battle of the Brits later this month, after the team event became one of Emma Raducanu’s first big appearances in its second edition during the pandemic in 2020. The tournament is the brainchild of the elder Murray brother and will return for the fourth time in Aberdeen later this month, with Draper set to make a big impact for Team England.
The fourth edition of the Battle of the Brits will take place later this month in Aberdeen after being postponed due to Covid last year, as Andy and Jamie Murray lead Team Scotland when they take on Team England – led by Draper and Dan Evans – during the two-day event. The event has already earned a reputation for giving younger players a boost as Raducanu competed in 2020 before going on to lift the US Open crowd a year later, and Jamie Murray told Express Sport why he thought his event had created such an impact as he tipped Draper to have a big 2023 season.
“Well I think that it brought so many of the players together, whether that was like the younger players with the older players or some of the lower ranked players with the higher ranked players,” he said, speaking exclusively to Express Sport about the first two Battle of the Brits events held during the summer of 2020. “I think loads of them got so much out of it and kind of brought everyone closer together.”
The first edition in 2020 was for male players only, but later in the summer the likes of Johanna Konta and Heather Watson joined in for a mixed-gender event that also saw Emma Raducanu called up alongside other lower-ranked players in Jodie Burrage and Katy Dunne, and she played the event for a second time in December of that year. And Jamie thought that the chance to rub shoulders with the likes of his brother had proven invaluable for the likes of the 2021 US Open champion.
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The former doubles world No 1 continued: “I think probably for a lot of them it was a big kind of learning curve to be on a team with Andy or Jo Konta or [Cameron] Norrie and [Dan] Evo and these guys, I think that was huge. And you can see a lot of them have done very well on their careers since then and moved up the rankings and got themselves into, whether it’s top 150 or some guys winning Challengers, having the girls do really well in the doubles. Emma obviously went on and won the US Open, Lloyd [Glasspool] now I think almost close to top 10 doubles as well.”
With Andy Murray set to play Draper on Day One of Battle of the Brits, the elder Murray brother thought that the 20-year-old could become the next player to have a big season following his stint at the British team event. “I think Jack’s obviously had an incredible year, he started the year outside of the top 200 and finished inside the top 50, almost inside the top 40,” Jamie explained.
“It’s difficult to know what his ceiling is really because he’s so young and he also he’s barely played on the tour really, I mean he’s probably done like four months or something which is nothing so it’ll be great to watch him next year, watch his progress, see what he can do but he’s got a huge upside to his game and I’m sure that he’ll be playing at the top of the game for a long time in his career.”
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Scottish world No 379 Aidan McHugh will join the Murray brothers on Team Scotland, and Jamie also outlined his hopes for the 22-year-old’s next year. “And I think for Aiden it was maybe a bit of a frustrating year for him, I think he had a few injuries around the grass season where he’d done quite well last year and that maybe kind of stunted his progress a bit,” he said.
“But he’s so into his tennis and he works very hard and I think next year for him a big goal would be to push himself close to the top 200 to know that he’s getting into the Grand Slam qualies.” McHugh will get the chance to test himself against world No 27 Evans in the first singles match on Day One, something Murray was looking forward to witnessing.
“I think it will be interesting for me to see how Aiden deals with playing against Evo as well, I’m sure Dan will be getting in his face a bit and making life difficult for him so it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with that,” he laughed.