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Rothesay Open Nottingham

Lexus Nottingham Tennis Centre 08 - 16 June 2024

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Jake Fearnley in action on court atr the Rothesay Open Nottingham
International

Rothesay Open Nottingham 2024: College teammates Jack Pinnington Jones & Jacob Fearnley shining in Nottingham

• 3 MINUTE READ

The men’s singles draw at the Rothesay Open Nottingham will feature an impressive eight British players after a strong start at the Lexus Nottingham Tennis Centre.

Amongst them are Jack Pinnington Jones and Jacob Fearnley – both looking to make an ATP Challenger singles quarter-final for the first time.

Pinnington Jones came back to beat fellow Brit Arthur Fery 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, while Fearnley clinched a 6-2, 7-5 win over Yunchaokete Bu to set up second rounds against Cam Norrie and Paul Jubb respectively.

The British rising stars have recently spent the last season competing out in America as part of the NCAA collegiate programme as teammates at Texas Christian University (TCU).

Supported by our specific NCAA performance programme, both Pinnington Jones and Fearnley have been able to grow and develop their game, competing against some of the best young talent in the world and training at some incredible facilities.

I still stand by it’s the best decision I’ve made in tennis so far.

“I’ve been at TCU for the last five years and it’s been the best time of my life,” said Fearnley. “The coaches there, the facilities – everyone there made it the best experience and it really helped my tennis a lot.

“I didn’t feel quite ready to play coming out of high school, so having that time to develop my game mentally, physically, paid dividends and I would tell anyone in a similar situation to do the same.”

Pinnington Jones added, “It’s amazing – I love TCU, I think it’s the best college out there to go and develop your tennis with all the Brits we’ve had, Cam Norrie, Ali Gray, Jake Fearnley, myself. They’re doing a great job out there.

“I didn’t feel ready for the pro grind. I was a bit immature; I didn’t understand what it took and the opportunity came to go to the States and develop my tennis without the pressure to develop straight away. I still stand by it’s the best decision I’ve made in tennis so far.”

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This year will go down as one of the most successful for TCU having won the NCAA Division I Championships for the first time – the biggest team competition in the American collegiate system.

Pinnington Jones and Fearnley played a big part in the team that defeated Texas 4-3 in the final – an experience they’ll never forget.

“It came at the best time,” Fearnley said. “It’s something that ever since I was there it was a goal that we set ourselves and to get it done in my final year was exceptional.

“It’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life and will be in the history books of TCU forever.”

For Pinnington Jones, it’s been moments like that final that he feels will set him up well for life on the pro tour.

“We were playing in front of 2000 people in that final and you’re out there trying to do it for your team and for your school. It’s big pressure moments, sudden death deuce points, stuff like that which all translates to playing on the tour.

“It is a different type of pressure on tour when it’s for your livelihood but any pressure moment on a tennis court can’t hurt you and it helps young players develop that mental toughness.”

Their success in the college game has given both Pinnington Jones and Fearnley the chance to benefit from the ATP Next Gen Accelerator Programme.

The programme was developed to increase the development pathway for top players in the American Collegiate system – with select direct entry into ATP Challenger Tour events.

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“I think it’s an added incentive to go to college tennis,” Fearnley explained. “For a lot of guys who don’t have ATP points coming out of college, having that little bit of a head start and getting into Challengers is massive. It’s a great initiative and something that I hope they keep doing for years to come.”

Both players face huge second round clashes with fellow Brits, but for Pinnington Jones, playing fellow TCU alumni Norrie at home on the grass will be extra special.

Norrie has been a big influence on both players careers so far and Fearnley is also set to play with the British No.1 in doubles this week.

“Cam’s great,” Pinnington Jones said. “He always reaches out, he always follows our season. He actually recruited me to go to TCU.

“I’ve known him for ages and he’s an idol of mine for what he’s done in the pro game. I would love to play him. He’s the best player to come out of TCU and really started that pathway for the Brits to go out to the States.”

Last year’s doubles champion, Fearnley, also said, “He’s someone that I’ve always looked up to and was a big reason why I decided to go to TCU, because I saw what he was doing on the pro tour. I thought if he can do it coming out of TCU then I can as well.

“We speak a decent amount and when we’re both around we like to practice together – I played with him last week. Whenever he comes to Fort Worth I’d play with him, which was great and he’s definitely a role model for me.”

Fearnley will play Jubb first on Centre Court on Wednesday, while Pinnington Jones and Norrie will likely play on Thursday.

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