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Meet handsome British wildcard Jack Draper as he goes up against Djokovic on Wimbledon’s centre court this afternoon

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Jack Draper playing in the Men’s Doubles at Wimbledon in 2019

Matthias Hangst / Getty Images

Jack Draper, you heard about him here first (unless you are a tennis enthusiast, in which case you will almost certainly have heard of him before). The 19-year-old wildcard from Leatherhead in Surrey, whose father, Roger, used to be chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association, is set to play world champion Novak Djokovic in his debut match on Wimbledon’s centre court at 1.30pm today, Monday 28 June.

Far from being daunted, Draper is excited. ‘What an opportunity for me to play against the best player in the world right now,’ he said in an interview with the Times. Since landing the wildcard, his phone has been abuzz. ‘It’s just my friends, my old schoolfriends,’ he said. ‘They probably don’t know a lot about tennis but they see me playing Djokovic, and they are messaging me saying, “Oh my god, you are playing Novak — secure the win!”’

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Away from all the Djokovic excitement, Draper is a bright young talent. The only British teenager in the world’s 300 top-ranked players, he is seen as the country’s newest, brightest star. Former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski, a fellow Brit, considers Draper the man to take centre stage in a post-Murray world. ‘He looks like the heir apparent,’ said Rusedski. ‘It’s going to be very interesting to see Jack against the best player on the planet, see how his game holds up. It’s an amazing experience to play the defending champion in the opening match of the Championships.’

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Aside from his father, 51, being the former head of the LTA, his brother Ben, 22, is also a professional, recently graduating on a tennis scholarship from the University of California at Berkeley. His mother, Nicki, was an outstanding British junior player before becoming a coach.

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Draper, currently seeded as No. 250 in the world, beat players in the top 40 last week at Queen’s to make the quarter-finals at the championship last week – so let’s see how he goes this afternoon. He has a dazzling future ahead, he’s already been scouted by IMG models, the firm that launched Lily Cole and Karen Elson, and his prowess on the tennis court certainly leaves little to be desired.

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