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Andy Murray digs deep to beat Jack Draper and level up Battle of the Brits

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Andy Murray digs deep to beat Jack Draper and level up Battle of the Brits

It’s Scotland 1-1 England! Andy Murray will dig deep to beat rising star Jack Draper and level the Battle of the Brits event, with the former world No 1 lamenting ‘crucial’ preparations for next year’s Australian Open month

  • Andy Murray defeated Jack Draper, almost 15 years his junior, in the Battle of the Brits
  • The former world No 1 produced an impressive 6-2, 1-6, 12-10 win in Aberdeen
  • Murray’s three-set win leveled the Scotland v England challenge match

Andy Murray has news for anyone who went to Wednesday night’s Battle of the Brits event hoping to see some sort of pre-Christmas pantomime.

Facing Jack Draper, the young player who could emulate him one day, he produced a spirited performance to level the Scotland v England challenge at 1-1 and bring the crowd to their feet.

Nobody plays this for laughs, and they combined to produce a high-quality spectacle that saw the veteran emerge with a 6-2, 1-6, 12-10 win in a packed P&J Arena.

Andy Murray roared past Jack Draper to tie the Battle of the Brits event for Scotland

Andy Murray roared past Jack Draper to tie the Battle of the Brits event for Scotland

The Scottish veteran (right) emerged a 6-2, 1-6, 12-10 winner over Draper (left) in a thrilling tie

The Scottish veteran (right) emerged a 6-2, 1-6, 12-10 winner over Draper (left) in a thrilling tie

Murray was delighted after a win against one of the tour’s top young prospects that came after three weeks of intense training in Florida with mentor Ivan Lendl.

There may not be too many opportunities for him to play in front of the Scottish crowd, and he clearly doesn’t want to waste them.

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‘I worked as hard as I have in a long time,’ he said. ‘Jack plays at the top 20 or 25 level so it’s a good test for me. He’s going to be at the top of the game.

Murray is grateful for the test from Draper as it builds up for next month's Australian Open

Murray is grateful for the test from Draper as it builds up for next month’s Australian Open

Draper is one of the rising stars in men's tennis and is likely on his way to the top of the sport

Draper is one of the rising stars in men’s tennis and is likely on his way to the top of the sport

‘The intensity you play in these matches compared to training is a level up so it’s a great step for me and a measure of where I am.

‘These few days are an important part of my preparation. And that’s why I want to make sure I’m right here from the start.

‘I was disappointed with how I played in the second set and I didn’t serve well in the last 45 minutes.’

Draper brought his full, exciting southpaw repertoire to the second set where he swept Murray, nearly 15 years his senior, with a flourish.

The tiebreak sent the crowd of nearly 7,000 into a frenzy, and it was overturned when the two-time Wimbledon champion clinched it with a stunning forehand pass.

England captain Ian Holloway was mesmerized and, sensing the gravity of the encounter, the well-travelled football manager refrained from his earlier crowd-pleasing antics.

Murray appeared under a kilt-wearing spotlight with Scotland now tied 1-1 with England

Murray appeared under a kilt-wearing spotlight with Scotland now tied 1-1 with England

At the opening of Dan Evans’ 6-4, 6-2 win over Aidan McHugh, he lived up to the lighthearted spirit of the event, strolling around like a distant relative at a family Christmas party with too many sherries on board.

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His management strategy is clear, however. The goal is to relax the players on his team bench, by dancing a jig between games, allowing his bowler hat to steal those around him, or call the umpire, or referee as said he.

Holloway and Paul Lawrie – Aberdeen’s former Open champion – have been tapped as skippers to add wider appeal to a match that is also serious preparation for the upcoming Australian leg of the new tennis era.

That was certainly how Murray and Draper took it, and despite the loss the Englishman, 21 on Thursday, showed why he is increasingly the subject of great expectations.