Jack Draper enjoyed the biggest payday of his career as he pocketed £430,924 ($546,800) for winning the Ultimate Tennis Showdown at London’s ExCel. The British No 4 went undefeated in his debut at the unconventional tournament, where players compete to win as many points as possible over four quarters each lasting eight minutes.
Draper dropped the first quarter to world No 8 Holger Rune in Sunday’s final but stormed back to win the next three, taking the fourth and final quarter by 19 points to seven.
Speaking after his triumph, the 21-year-old said: “To finish this strong and play some great tennis in my home country, in my home city is amazing. I think it’s been a really weird format, really fun to play and obviously playing against the best players in the world and getting wins in those matches feels amazing.”
With the victory, Draper earned his biggest prize money cheque for a single tournament, surpassing the £223,816 ($284,000) he received for reaching the US Open round of 16 in September. “It’s no doubt that tennis is a really expensive sport,” he explained.
“It’s an individual sport but it is a team sport because there’s so many people helping me on a day-to-day basis, working on my body, working on my tennis and so that money goes a long way into investing in my tennis. I’m not a very materialistic guy, I’ll be putting that money towards becoming a better all-round athlete.”
The world No 61 isn’t planning any big celebrations following his title win at UTS as he continues his pre-season work ahead of the Australian Open. Draper continued: “We’re in the middle of our pre-season, we’re working really hard for next year.
“So I’ll have a day off, try and chill out a bit, this format takes it out of you and then I’ll be back to work on Tuesday to keep on going for next year. Small break for Christmas and then I’m flying to Aus so just keeping up the work from here.”
Draper had already beaten Rune in the group stage at UTS on Friday and his rival believes he can join him at the top of the game.
The four-time title winner said: “If he keeps playing like this he can for sure I think go top 15, why not top 10 also? How he’s playing today is for sure top 10 tennis, he can beat almost everyone when he’s playing like this.
“He showed that this week, beating me twice, beating Casper [Ruud], former No.2, so if he keeps playing like this he’s going to be dangerous. The question is if he’s going to do it or not.”