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Image description, Jacob Fearnley won his first ATP Challenger title at the Nottingham Open

Jacob Fearnley is fresh out of college and “just wants to play a few matches on grass” – suddenly he is just one match away from facing seven-time champion Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon.

The 22-year-old Scot earned his wildcard for the All England Club after winning his first ATP Challenger singles title at the Nottingham Open earlier this month – despite having to qualify.

“It has opened a lot of doors for me and I am extremely grateful,” Edinburgh-born Fearnley told BBC Sport.

“As soon as I finished the tournament, I had a schedule made for the rest of the summer and had to call my coach and basically rearrange it and plan to play different tournaments after Wimbledon.”

Fearnley, who will face Spanish qualifier Alejandro Moro Canas in the first round of Wimbledon on Tuesday, followed the same path as current British number two Cameron Norrie, graduating from college tennis at Texas Christian University.

Returning to the site of his first doubles title a year earlier, he won seven consecutive matches, including one against world number one Juncheng Shang, before defeating 245th seed Charles Broom 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the all-British final in Nottingham.

“I graduated from TCU on May 26,” he explained. “We won the national title by beating Texas in the finals.”

“I had a good week of training at the NTC (National Tennis Centre) and then went straight to Nottingham to play the first round of qualifying. I just wanted to play a few matches on the grass and hopefully play against some of the top players to get a feel for their level and see how I fare against them.

“I managed to gain more confidence and get some good wins. Playing against Charles Broom in the final… I’ve played against him so many times, so I knew I had a chance and luckily I came out on top.”

Fearnley is only the fourth Briton to win the Nottingham Trophy, following in the footsteps of Greg Rusedski, Dan Evans and 2023 winner Andy Murray.

As a result, his world ranking position halved from 525 to 271 and he received a wildcard for the Eastbourne International.

There he lost 6-4, 7-6 to 139th-seeded Billy Harris on his ATP Tour debut, but his fellow Briton consolidated his recent good form by reaching the semifinals.

Now fellow Wimbledon debutant Canas, currently ranked 189th in the world, stands between Fearnley and a second-round match against Djokovic, provided the 37-year-old Serb overcomes his recent injury and beats Czech qualifier Vit Kopriva.

Fearnley already has experience of winning as a Wimbledon wildcard, having reached the second round of doubles with fellow countryman Johannus on Monday a year ago.

And he knows he has a great opportunity to play in the same half of the singles draw as fellow Scots Norrie and Murray in what could be a career-defining meeting with the number two seed.

“When I saw that, of course I was excited and wanted to be the first to play whoever, but obviously it’s a good draw to get into the first round and I definitely have a chance,” Fearnley said.

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