Tennis: Edinburgh teenager Matt Rankin jets off to Australian Open for his grand slam debut

Edinburgh tennis teenager Matt Rankin is ready to make his mark Down Under as he gears up for the first junior grand slam event of his career.

By Neil McGlade
Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 7:06 pm
Edinburgh schoolboy Matt Rankin, 17, will compete in the Australian Open boys singles in Melbourne and is hoping to turn pro

The former Merchiston Castle School pupil will compete in this month's junior Australian Open and jets off to the other side of the world today in preparation for the event which begins on Saturday, January 22.

The 17-year-old, who trains at Stirling University as part of Tennis Scotlands National Player Programme, is currently 68th in the ITF world rankings following a productive 2021 on the international circuit in both singles and doubles.

As he enters his final 12 months as a junior, Rankin, who is finishing his school studies online, insists now is the time to fulfil his potential as he aims to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time professional tennis player.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Matt Rankin, 17, will compete in the Australian Open boys singles in Melbourne

“Last year was a really good one for me,” he told the Evening News. “The team I have behind me and the training environment I'm in has really helped me get some good results.

“I was also able to travel around the world a lot and experience new places and my tennis has improved a lot.

“Probably my victory in Cyprus in November in the J3 ITF stands out. I played really well in hot conditions and I felt like I battled through so it was a great feeling to win the title.

"This is my last year of playing juniors, so it's huge. I'm going to be playing a lot more bigger events. I'm really excited to be playing in my first junior grand slam.

“The sky's the limit so I'm hoping for some really big things to come over the next 12 months. My favourite surface is outdoor hard courts but I do enjoy the grass as well so I'm looking forward to Wimbledon in the summer too.

"I want to be a professional tennis player. That's the dream. It can be tough juggling school work and playing tennis but I've got good discipline.

“School is important to me as well so when I'm not playing or have some time off, I'll crack on with the work."

For now, though, all his focus is on Melbourne. And although he is confident he can mix it with the very best on the tour, Rankin is mindful of the impact Covid is currently having on the world of sport.

“It's always a worry,” said Rankin, who is double vaccinated. “I suppose it's the way the world is right now so you have to be mindful you could pick it up or be in contact with someone who does. It would be really unfortunate if players were to pull out, but I think the officials at the Australian Open will do everything they can to keep the players safe.

"There's a warm-up event so it will be good to get that in before the main competition gets underway.

“For me, just to go out there and experience an event of this magnitude is a big thing in itself. I feel ready and I want to do my best.

"I'm going over there in the best shape and confident following a really productive 2021. It's going to be really hot and that always makes things bit tougher, but I enjoy it."

Message from the editor

Thank you for reading this article. If you haven't already, please consider supporting our sports coverage with a digital sports subscription.