#NextGenATP stars Jack Draper and Dominic Stricker have been practising hard in Milan as they prepare to make their debuts at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.
The Briton and Swiss lefty will both compete in Red Group at the 21-and-under event. However, before the action starts, the pair got to know each other at the weekend when they shared jokes while walking the streets of Milan.
“I am a cool guy,” Stricker told Draper when describing his personality. “In my free time I like to play games with my family and video games.”
“I would say I am a pretty chilled guy,” Draper replied. “Tennis is a big part of my life, but I like to be home and be with my family and friends. I like to chill and do normal things and be a normal 20-year-old.”
Draper will play Stricker in his opening match on Tuesday night. Both players feel they have what it takes to lift the trophy in Milan at the fifth edition of the event.
“I think I can win because I am playing good tennis,” the 20-year-old Draper told Stricker. “I feel I am in good shape. I know everybody here is a very good player but I think I can compete well and hopefully win the tournament.”
“I think the same,” the 20-year-old Stricker replied. “I am in good shape. I have played well in the past few tournaments and I am feeling good. But everyone here has had a great season. But I am just happy to be here and I hope I can utilise my strengths.”
In a breakthrough season, Draper earned wins against Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime, while Stricker defeated Top 40 players Maxime Cressy and Botic van de Zandschulp. Both players are targeting further scalps in 2023.
“I would say the next player on my to beat list is Rafa [Nadal] on clay,” Stricker said. “It is a tough one but I think it is something everyone would like to do.”
“Cam Norrie for me,” Draper said. “He has had me twice when I have played him. I would like to play him again and beat him for sure because he has bragging rights over me at the moment.”
For now, their focus will remain on Milan. Lorenzo Musetti and Chun-Hsin Tseng will also compete in Red Group alongside Draper and Stricker, with Brandon Nakashima, Jiri Lehecka, Francesco Passaro and Matteo Arnaldi in Green Group.
Photo Credits: Peter Staples/ATP Tour