Who is Jacob Fearnley? Rising British tennis star plotting Novak Djokovic’s downfall at Wimbledon 2024

Novak Djokovic is fit again, back on the court and chasing an eighth Wimbledon title.

If the Serbian star is to extend his record haul of 24 grand slam titles, he will have to overcome a rising home hope at SW19.

“I’ve watched him on TV countless times. What he has done for the sport, the way he plays and what he’s been able to achieve is remarkable,” said 22-year-old Jacob Fearnley.

“It will be daunting but more kind of weird to see him across the net. He’s definitely one of my idols. If I can play half of his level, I’ll be happy.”

So what chance does the Scottish youngster have of shocking the world?

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Who is Jacob Fearnley?

Fearnley was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on July 15, 2001.

A collegiate-level tennis player, he made his debut on the ATP Tour at Eastbourne in 2024. That appearance came just over a week after he won his first Challenger title in Nottingham.

Wimbledon 2024 was Fearnley’s first appearance in the main draw of a grand slam singles event.

Jacob Fearnley world ranking, titles won

Ahead of his match with Djokovic at Wimbledon, Fearnley was ranked 277th in the world. That fact alone means a victory over the Serbian great would rank as one of the biggest Wimbledon shocks of all time. However, this ranking is also deceptive.

A little over a month ago, Fearnley was ranked outside the world’s top 500, so he is on a rapid rise up the professional ranks.

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He won the Nottingham Open last month, his first title on the ATP’s second-tier Challenger tour. Handed a Wimbledon wildcard, his first-round win over Spanish qualifier Alejandro Moro Canas set up his date with Djokovic.

In a sport packed with teen sensations, at face value Fearnley might appear to be a late bloomer, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

After an eye-catching junior career where he beat reigning Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz and current world No. 1 Jannik Sinner, the young Scot decamped to Texas to join the collegiate system.

Why did Jacob Fearnley play college tennis in USA?

Fearnley went to Texas Christian University (TCU) to study for a degree in kinesiology while playing on the collegiate tennis circuit.

Despite suffering a succession of injury problems, including persistent abdominal setbacks, Fearnley became a four-time ITA All-American for TCU, which also counts British No. 2 Cameron Norrie among its alumni.

“I think college helped me a lot. TCU was the best decision I ever made,” Fearnley told the ATP Tour’s official website prior to his Wimbledon debut.

“I learned so much from being there. I got the opportunity to be coached by, I think, two of the best coaches in the world,” he said of head coach David Roditi and associate head coach Devin Bowen.

“Aside from the fact of physically developing more, I think I’m definitely mentally stronger and deal with things a little bit better than maybe I did in the past.

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“And I think that the other big thing is that I just believe in myself a little bit more. And that belief has come through just a lot of hard work and a lot of people supporting me. I’d say that’s the big thing that’s changed, just the belief in myself.”

Just six weeks after leaving TCU, rocketing up the world rankings and with his first senior title under his belt, Fearnley must mentally and physically prepare himself for one of the biggest challenges in sport in the form of Djokovic on Centre Court.

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