Andy Murray set for final Queen’s swansong – with Jack Draper ready to take on British mantle

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andy murray, jack draper, wimbledon, queen's, andy murray set for final queen’s swansong – with jack draper ready to take on british mantle

This Thursday, a new documentary about Andy Murray is released on BBC iPlayer. It isn’t the first, but it may well be the last.

Five years on from Andy Murray: Resurfacing, which charted his near-miraculous return from hip surgery, Andy Murray: Will to Win encompasses the 20-year professional journey of Britain’s greatest tennis player in the open era with behind-the-scenes archival footage, starting out with his breathless fitness regime as a junior in Barcelona and concluding with some of his greatest memories at Wimbledon, not least his two championships in 2013 and 2016. It puts into pictures a remarkable journey of unmatchable highs and devastating lows. A journey, however, which seems to be in its final weeks now.

Murray confirmed in press duties ahead of this week’s cinch Championships at Queen’s Club in west London that he is set to retire either after Wimbledon next month or the Paris Olympics in August. Asked if he would make the US Open or Davis Cup at the end of the tennis summer, he said: “I don’t think so.”

On the same day he was confirmed as a participant for Team GB at what would be his fifth Olympics, the two-time gold medallist added: “If I was going to finish my career, I would rather finish at Wimbledon or an Olympic Games – to me that would probably be more fitting. I’ve had amazing experiences and memories from Wimbledon, but also being part of the British Olympic teams.”

Within this week’s BBC documentary, the familiar voice of Tim Henman appears early on. Set in 2005, when Murray first made his mark on the British public with an impressive run to the third-round on debut at Wimbledon, Henman bowed out a round earlier. Reflecting on what felt like a changing of the guard then, he said: “I always felt when he [Andy] was coming up, this was definitely my successor. And I was excited about it.

“There wasn’t an ounce of me that was bitter of jealous that he was someone who was going to take over my mantle.”

Nineteen years on, Murray is now embarking on his last dance. While the 37-year-old is on the verge of an ending he is desperate to avoid – in stark similarity to Rafael Nadal – with his body now refusing to produce the goods of yesteryear, the next generation of British talent looks finally to be ready and eager to take on the role of poster boy.

Enter Jack Draper. Fresh from a first tour title last week on the grass in Stuttgart, persevering with a new hard-hitting powerful game from the back of the court, the 22-year-old is the new British No 1 but Murray, ever the source of inspiration and motivation, believes the man from Sutton should set his sights even higher.

andy murray, jack draper, wimbledon, queen's, andy murray set for final queen’s swansong – with jack draper ready to take on british mantle
Andy Murray is set to retire this summer just as Jack Draper looks to be finding his feet (Getty Images for Battle of the Brits)
andy murray, jack draper, wimbledon, queen's, andy murray set for final queen’s swansong – with jack draper ready to take on british mantle
Murray, 37, is a five-time winner at Queen’s Club (Getty Images)

"It’s always special to win your first title and everyone is different in terms of things that motivate them,” Murray said. “Jack, I think, has bigger goals to aspire to than being British No 1. In my opinion, he can get right up to the top of the game, right to the top of the world rankings.”

Both Murray and Draper get their Queen’s campaign underway on Tuesday. Five-time winner Murray, who has remarkably not broken serve in a tour-level match since March, takes on qualifier Alexei Popyrin from Australia while Draper takes on world No 29 Mariano Navone from Argentina. They both follow Carlos Alcaraz on Centre Court, with the Spaniard returning to action just nine days after winning his third Grand Slam title at the French Open.

Draper was not the only British success story on Sunday: Katie Boulter defended her WTA title in Nottingham, defeating Emma Raducanu in three tight sets in a delayed semi-final before beating former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova in the final, concluding five sets of tennis in one day. Jacob Fearnley, looking to follow in Cameron Norrie’s footsteps with a pro career after a few years spent in the US college system, picked up the ATP Challenger title too, as a qualifier.

As for Norrie, his season of frustration continued on Monday as he let two match points slip by in a crushing three-set first-round loss at Queen’s to former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic, 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-6(9). Raonic, himself on the comeback trail, set a world record for the most aces in a three-set ATP Tour match, with 47.

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