AN Edinburgh schoolboy is proving a smash in the world of junior tennis after netting a string of titles at youth level.
Teenager Jacob Fearnley is being tipped for a bright future in the game after winning the Scottish indoor under-18 championship in January.
The 16-year-old, coached by a former doubles partner of Andy Murray, hit with brother Jamie during a training session in December and has enjoyed a rapid ascent in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) rankings over the last three years, cracking the top 200 towards the end of 2017.
The Merchiston Castle pupil is now set to test himself against Europe’s best young tennis talent in Chisinau, Moldova at the ITF Biotehnos Cup event kicking off this month.
The event attracts young players from the likes of France, Russia and the United States, with Jacob set for a tough challenge against the Italian tenth seed Federico Arnaboldi in the first round.
Coach David Brewer, who partnered Murray in the junior doubles at Wimbledon, said Jacob had “all the attributes” to forge a career in the professional game.
He said: “His attitude is absolutely spot on for where he wants to go in his career and if we can maximise and develop that, there is no reason he can’t go ahead and continue his career on the tour. It’s difficult to compare him to players like Andy at this stage in his career, but in terms of attitude and will to win, you can see the similarities.”
He added: “The improvements he has made in his game over the past year have been superb. He generates a really impressive amount of power when he is hitting the ball for a player of his size. You can see he has that aggressiveness and that desire to go and play high up the court.”
The teenager has already competed in tournaments across the world, including being the only UK-based player to be invited to the prestigious Longines Future Tennis Aces competition in Paris in May 2013.
Last year, he added to his growing reputation by helping Merchiston Castle to second place in the International Schools Sport Federation Tennis World Championships in Brazil.
It’s a far cry from Jacob’s introduction to the game, revealing that he began playing with his grandfather in the back garden of his home in Penicuik.
Evening News community sport editor Bill Lothian said: “Jacob is a really talented young player who has done well to battle back from a shoulder injury and I think it will be really interesting to see how he progresses this year.
“He is a player who always stands out in tournaments, obviously there is a lot of potential there. It is now just about if he can take it to the next level.”