US Open 2023
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 28 August-10 September
Coverage: Daily live text and radio commentaries across the BBC Sport website, app, BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Sports Extra
Britain’s Jack Draper believes he can “go all the way in this sport” after his encouraging US Open run came to an end in the last 16.
Draper’s bid for a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final ended in a 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 loss to eighth seed Andrey Rublev.
The 21-year-old pushed Russia’s Rublev hard in a physical encounter in a humid New York, but faded at the end.
“It’s not my tennis holding me back, it’s my physicality and staying on court consistently,” he said.
“Once I do that I think I will prove to myself that I will be able to be one of the best players in the world.”
Draper, who was a doubt for the final major of the year with a shoulder problem, was the last Briton remaining in the singles.
Reaching the last 16 was Draper’s best performance at a Grand Slam in his fledging career and provides optimism going into next season.
“My tennis is right there. I’ve barely played in the last couple of months and I’ve come here, made the fourth round and pushed a top-10 player,” he said.
“If I just can get things right, still be being able to compete and train, I think I can go all the way in this sport.”
Draper’s ranking plummeted after missing almost three months of the season – including Wimbledon – with a tear in his left shoulder.
But the left-hander, who reached a career-high of 38 at the start of the year, will return to the cusp of the world’s top 100.
Encouragement for Draper as learning curve continues
Once the pain of a Grand Slam exit settles, Draper will reflect on a week which showcased the huge talent he possesses.
Counting a big serve and hefty forehand as his biggest weapons, the left-hander’s ability has never been in doubt.
Keeping fit has been his biggest problem, arriving at the US Open with what he described as a “70-30 chance” of playing after another shoulder injury.
The injury, sustained at the Winston-Salem Open last month, was separate to the one that had kept him out for the previous three months.
But he showed resilience in New York to come through his first three matches and he battled hard in testing conditions against the seemingly-tireless Rublev under the roof on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
“I gave it all mentally but I was pretty drained honestly,” he said.
“You are playing against a guy who is tough to get the ball past. It is physically quite gruelling.”
Having only played two matches on the ATP Tour since tearing a shoulder muscle at the French Open in May, it was perhaps unsurprising he faded physically after falling two-sets-to-one down.
Draper’s second serve came under increasing pressure and his service speed dropped as he was broken in the fifth game of the fourth set.
The result looked close to a formality at that point but the British number four continued to fight as hard as his body would allow him.
His weariness showed in a double fault which brought up a match point, though Rublev was unable to take the opportunity, missing another return on a second as Draper managed to hold.
That asked the question of Rublev to serve out and, after letting a third match point slip when he watched a return clip the line, took his fourth with a cross-court forehand winner.
The enormous roar Rublev let out when he finally clinched victory indicated the stress he had been put under by the Briton.
“From the first point I was feeling the ball really well and I thought Jack was playing well,” said Rublev, who has reached his fourth US Open quarter-final.
“But I was able to break him and I kept thinking that even if I was losing I would make the match physical because Jack is coming back from injury.
“You could see in the fourth set he was tired and not able to play the same way.
“I was able to add extra speed and finish the match.”
Rublev, 25, goes on to face either compatriot Daniil Medvedev, who is seeded third, or Australian 13th seed Alex de Minaur.