Novak Djokovic’s next Wimbledon opponent finds a word to describe task in front of him

Kevin Palmer
Novak Djokovic laughing during training
Novak Djokovic training at Wimbledon

British wildcard Jacob Fearnley has enjoyed a whirlwind rise to prominence in recent weeks and now he is set to face the ultimate challenge on a grass court by taking on the great Novak Djokovic.

Fearnley only finished his five-year stint at Texas Christian University (TCU) in May and was ranked outside the top 500 until he won an ATP Challenger event in Nottingham as a qualifier last month.

It helped earn the 22-year-old from Scotland a wild card for this year’s Championships and despite being distracted by Djokovic’s score on a screen outside Centre Court, he marked his debut at the All England Club with a 7-5 6-4 7-6 (12) victory on a buoyant Court Eight.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t watching the scores on Centre Court. It was getting in my head a little bit that I was going to have to play him,” Fearnley said.

“Yeah, it’s going to be a little bit intimidating, but it’s a match that I’m super excited for. It’s the biggest match of my career so far. Just to be able to share the court with a player like that will be really special.”

When asked what tactics he would use in his match against Djokovic, Fernley admitted tactics may be hard to devise against the most successful player of all time.

“I’ve watched so many videos of him. It doesn’t look like there’s many flaws in his game,” continued Fernley.

“I’m going to just try and enjoy it, put my game out on the court and see what happens. I don’t think there’s many tactics going into the match.”

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Fearnley also revealed who will be coming to watch him in his clash with Djokovic on Thursday, with tickets for his box on Centre Court certain to be in short supply.

“My mum will be there, my half brother James and hopefully my dad,” added Fearnley.

“My Dad wasn’t able to come today. I think he’ll come for that match, I hope. And yeah,

“I’ll probably have a lot of friends. I mean, even today, there were so many friends that I hadn’t seen, I didn’t even know were coming, I saw them in the stands. I’m assuming there will be a lot of support behind me, playing in England, in the UK.”

Djokovic also gave his reaction to the prospect of facing a British player at Wimbledon as he needed to do some research ahead of his second round clash.

“I don’t know really anything about him. So I’ll have to do my homework,” said the seven-time Wimbledon champions.

“I know he was granted a wild card to play in the tournament. So yeah, I’ll definitely analyze his match of today and see what I’m up against.

“Obviously him being British, he’s going to have the crowd. You never like to play British in Wimbledon.

“But, you know, I’m looking forward. For me, it’s just about really maintaining this good sensation, good feelings on the court, getting my body and knee in shape to sustain the high level of potential five sets. That’s what matters the most.”