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British tennis storylines to watch out for in 2024

• 5 MINUTE READ

The 2024 tennis season is fast approaching and as the Brits are gearing up to head out on the professional circuits once again, we highlight some of the top storylines you ought to look out for in the upcoming season.

Can Draper break new ground?

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Jack Draper’s return to the ATP tour in the second half of 2023 was one of the standouts of the British tennis season. Having battled through injuries throughout the first half of the year, Draper made his comeback in August, where he made a strong statement by reaching the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the first time at the US Open.

From there, the 22-year-old grew from strength-to-strength – making his Great Britain debut at the Davis Cup Finals Group Stages, winning his first title of the year at the Bergamo Challenger, reaching a career-first ATP tour-level final in Sofia where he finished runner-up and more recently being crowned champion at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in London.

January marked a career-high ranking for Draper, where he reached world No.38. Despite his ranking dropping after missing the entire grass court season to rehabilitate a shoulder injury, Draper has already jumped 62 places in the rankings to finish the year at No.61 and could be set to reach new heights in the new year should he continue the same trajectory.

Speaking to Tennis Majors back in November, Draper said “I do have the target that I want to be in the top 20 by the end of the year (2024) - that’s the goal.” With strong ambitions like that, you won’t want to miss a minute of the youngster in action!

Brits returning to the tour

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2023 saw several Brits’ seasons be hampered by injuries but some familiar faces are set to make their comeback and will be gunning to hit the ground running.

January will mark the return of Emma Raducanu who will compete for the first time since undergoing three surgeries in April at the ASB Classic in Auckland, where she has received a wild card. The 2021 US Open champion’s long-awaited return to the sport will undoubtedly be one of the talking points of the month, as the youngster looks to get back to winning ways.

On the men’s side, Alastair Gray has recently made his return to the ITF tour, following an ankle injury that saw him miss the entire grass court season. Gray has already made a strong start in his resurgence, having finished runner-up at the M15 Herkalion event before clinching the silverware at the M15 event in Madrid the following week. Meanwhile, Jay Clarke has also made an impact upon his comeback to the ITF tour, having picked up one singles and four doubles titles since October and will be one to keep your eye on next year.

Doubles roulette: new partnerships set to take to the stage

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While 2023 saw plenty of trophies and triumphs amongst our British doubles stars, including two Grand Slam trophies on the men’s side, the upcoming season is set to see the emergence of some new doubles partnerships with some exciting match-ups on the horizon.

Neal Skupski, who this year clinched his maiden Grand Slam men’s doubles title alongside Wesley Koolhof at Wimbledon, is set to partner Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez who has split with Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin despite picking up five titles this season. Gonzalez is yet to win a major title and will be hoping the reigning Wimbledon champion will bring him some luck in their first year as a duo.

Julian Cash had another standout year on the tour with the British No.5 breaking into the ATP top 50, winning five Challenger titles with four different partners and reaching the final of three ATP-tour level tournaments. While it’s still unknown who Cash will partner, we can expect to see another standout year from the 27-year-old, as he looks to establish himself as a regular title winner at the highest level of the tour.

Meanwhile, we can expect to see a shake up amongst the women’s doubles field with the likes of Alicia Barnett, Olivia Nicholls, Ali Collins, Maia Lumsden, Emily Appleton and Freya Christie all currently trialling new partners ahead of the new season.

British women eager to build on 2023 successes

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Katie Boulter’s breakthrough was one of the highlights this season, with the 27-year-old finding the best form of her career to date during the second half of the year.

Boulter’s spectacular summer on the grass saw her claim her first WTA title at the Rothesay Open Nottingham, reach the third round at The Championships, Wimbledon and the US Open and break into the WTA top 50 for the first time in her career. From then onwards, it was a season to remember for the Brit who lived up to her new title of British No.1 and ticked many milestones off her list.

Jodie Burrage’s standout year was another highlight of 2023. The 24-year-old enjoyed many firsts this year, including a first Grand Slam win at Wimbledon, first WTA doubles title and notably, breaking into the top 100 for the first time in her career.

Meanwhile, Harriet Dart and Heather Watson’s strong ends to the season put them in great stead heading into the new season, with Watson concluding the year as British doubles No.1. With so much hope amongst the British women, their continued development on the WTA tour is a journey you’ll want to follow along with in 2024.

Next gen look to make their mark on the wheelchair scene

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While the Wheelchair tours have established British dominance over the last few years with the likes of Alfie Hewett, Gordon Reid and Andy Lapthorne collecting a haul of trophies across the globe, a new set of emerging talent is beginning take the spotlight.

18-year-old Ben Bartram has continued to develop his game at the topflight of the senior wheelchair tour this year, having been selected to represent Great Britain at the World Team Cup alongside Hewett and Reid where the team rose to victory to take home the gold medal and picking up three doubles titles throughout the season. Bartram opened up about his experience competing with two of his idols (Hewett and Reid) in our tennis documentary series, Beyond the Baseline presented by Lexus, and his ambitions to become one of the world’s best wheelchair stars.

Watch all episodes of Beyond the Baseline

Meanwhile, Dahnon Ward impressed once again this year having clinched the singles and doubles US Open junior titles and quad star Greg Slade picked up his first ITF 2 singles title this year at the Open Paratennis du Loiret.

On the women’s side, Abbie Breakwell was another standout star on the British wheelchair scene – having won an astonishing five singles titles and six doubles trophies across the ITF Futures tour this year. The 20-year-old ended the year on a high, having been crowned British No.2 following an extended period of impressive form and will be another one to watch on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tour in 2024.

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