|Dates: May 28 – June 11 Premises: Roland Garros, Paris|
|Reception: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, on the BBC Sport website and app|
Briton Jack Draper says he “hates being the guy who gets injured a lot” after retiring on his senior French Open debut due to a shoulder problem.
The 21-year-old’s injury problems continued when he was forced to retire early in the second set against Argentinian Tomas Martin Etcheverry.
Draper started serving under his arm in the first set of the first-round match.
“It is hard. It’s extremely hard, harder than playing and losing. I feel a bit mentally damaged,” he said.
“It’s really frustrating. But I’ll get there. It’s just a brutal sport.
“I hate being the guy who gets injured a lot.”
The draper, who is ranked 55th in the world, has had a number of physical issues in his young career and this is the third consecutive Grand Slam match where an injury has impacted his performance.
After withdrawing from his US Open third-round match against Karen Khachanov due to a hamstring problem, the number four Brits were threatened by cramps during the Australian Open loss to Rafael Nadal.
He also withdrew from the March meeting in Indian Wells with Spanish world number one Carlos Alcaraz.
“I told the coach that in the first set I’m not withdrawing from the next match. I don’t want to do that,” said Draper, who retired 12 times in senior and junior matches as of 2018.
“Even if I had to play three sets under my arms. I don’t care, I just wanted to play. But there’s no point in making things worse.
“Of course I have to think about the grass (season) around the corner and hope it calms down before then.”
Draper’s physical problems come at a time when British tennis loses its most successful young player – Emma Raducanu – to injury, as the 20-year-old struggles with a series of niggles that have hampered her progress since her stunning 2021 US Open win.
She is sidelined for the next few months following wrist and ankle surgeries, following a similar series of mid-match withdrawals that plagued Draper.
The left-handed Draper was beaten 6-4 in the first set against Etcheverry, requiring physiotherapy on the serving shoulder, and it was no surprise that he retired shortly thereafter.
Draper lost the first set of the second set when he was answering and decided he could not continue after two more service points.
Earlier this year, he was recovering from a chronic hip injury – which led to a problem in New York – before injuring his stomach at Indian Wells in March and again in Monte Carlo in April.
Draper decided to do a training block at the National Tennis Center in London to recover physically and returned to match action in Lyon last week.
Speaking to British media at Roland Garros on Sunday, he admitted he “had no idea” how the two weeks would go when he “learned” how to improve his body.
But it was later revealed that Draper “felt a prick” in his arm during Sunday practice, resorting to an underarm serve less than 24 hours later against Etcheverry.
After talking to his team and deciding he would try to continue, Draper only lasted one more game and left the court looking inconsolable.
“I took all the stuff I needed to go out on the court, hoping it would settle down. But that didn’t happen. It got worse,” he said.