Daily Mail

Murray to tackle his heir apparent

- By MIKE DICKSON Tennis Correspond­ent

ANDY MURRAY will confront the future tonight when he tackles Jack Draper, the player marked out as his long-term successor.

The two will meet, for the first time in official competitio­n, in the third round of the Indian Wells Masters in California. Emma Raducanu will seek to join one of them in the last 16. With one world ranking place separating the British No 3 and No 4, it is likely to be close. When they met at the Battle of the Brits in Aberdeen prior to Christmas, a partisan crowd dragged Murray to a 6-2, 1-6, 12-10 win.

The Scot has long been an admirer of the 21-year-old. He sees a big career ahead for Draper (below) who defeated British No 2 Dan Evans in the previous round. ‘It will be a good match, he obviously plays really well,’ said Murray, 35. ‘He’s not actually competed that much on tour, but when he has he has always performed well. He’s going to be a top, top player for a long time if he stays healthy.’ Murray’s chances were boosted by claiming a match in straight sets. His win over Radu Albot was the first time he had managed that in five months.

‘If you have had a shorter match, there are less aches and pains, so it’s easier to sleep. The day off becomes a bit more productive, because there is less fatigue and soreness. ‘You are probably able to practise at a slightly higher intensity. When I got up this morning, I had bit of soreness in the lower back which I would imagine by Monday won’t be there.’ Raducanu is also looking for a boost and gave a reminder of her rich ball-striking talent in beating world No 21 Magda Linette. She now faces Brazil’s world No 13 Beatriz Haddad Maia. Raducanu continues to complain of soreness in her wrist, though she hit the ball well in what was her best win by ranking since that US Open triumph of 2021.

Cam Norrie has already made it into the last 16 at Indian Wells. He beat Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-7, 7-5, 6-2 last night.

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