Jacob Fearnley

Fearnley happy to fly under radar after Djokovic date at Wimbledon

Jacob Fearnley insists he’s happy to continue flying under the radar after giving Novak Djokovic a second-round scare on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

The Scot, 22, secured a fairytale draw after making the hop across the pond from Texas Christian University and unexpectedly booking his place at the All England Club.

He toppled higher-ranked Spaniard Alejandro Moro Canas in the opening round on Tuesday and came close to taking Djokovic, a record 24-time Grand Slam champion, all the way in a thrilling encounter 48 hours later.

Fearnley rallied from two sets down to peg the seven-time king of SW19 back before eventually succumbing to a 6-3 6-4 5-7 7-5 defeat in front of a partisan home crowd.

The Edinburgh-born ace admits his Instagram followers have sky-rocketed but says nothing will change as he bids to use his big moment as a platform for progression and greater things.

“I’m going to stay down to earth,” said Fearnley, the current world No.277.

“At the end of the day I lost the match. I’m going to give myself a tap on the back and say it was a great summer.

“I’ll go to dinner with my family tonight, and we’ll talk about it. In the next couple of days it will fizzle out and we’ll move on to the next.

“It’s just the start. I’ve been out of college for a bit over a month, so there’s a lot still in the future.

“I think myself and everyone on my team is well aware of that.

“I’m not really thinking about [added fame]. I’m aware that I’ve gained a lot of Instagram followers but other than that, nothing.

“I don’t think anything has really changed and I don’t think it’s going to really affect me.

“I’m really proud of my effort – I’m obviously a little bit disappointed to come up with a loss, but I was playing the greatest tennis player of all time on Centre Court.

“I was just super grateful to have the opportunity to play on that court against that opponent.”

Fearnley, who followed in the footsteps of Cameron Norrie in opting to move to the States and study at TCU, earned a wildcard for the Wimbledon draw after grabbing Rothesay Open glory in Nottingham last month.

And he took full advantage of that by stunning Canas, ranked 89 places above him, in straight sets.

That teed up a tantalising second round showdown with world No.2 Djokovic, who was sporting a conspicuous grey compression sleeve on his right knee after having surgery on a torn meniscus.

Fearnley started brightly in the Centre Court sunshine as Djokovic looked far from his razor-sharp best.

A pair of fizzing backhand winners had the British fans on their feet as that crucial early break continued to evade the Serb.

But it eventually came in the eighth game as Djokovic seized daylight and raced into a one-set lead.

He went down 6-4 in the second but continued to battle, responding to another Djokovic break to win two games on the spin for the first time in the match.

And he channelled that momentum to brilliantly win the set, peg Djokovic back and have Wimbledon daring to dream.

Fearnley even had a break point to help set up a remarkable deciding set but after Djokovic resisted and then broke himself, he eventually edged over the line.

Djokovic spoke highly of his opponent and ahead of a third round clash against Australian Alexei Popyrin, said: “Credit to him for playing a really great match – he played on a high level and made me earn it.

“The match potentially deserved to get into a fifth the way we both played.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website

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