AN 11-year-old tennis prodigy following the footsteps of Andy Murray has become the first Scot to be invited to a prestigious Paris tournament.
Jacob Fearnley, from Edinburgh, is the first Scot to be selected as the UK representative for the Longines Future Tennis Aces Competition.
The Merchiston Castle School pupil is currently top under-12 in the East of Scotland and second in the whole UK.
If he manages to beat 15 other young tennis aces from around the world he will receive guaranteed sports equipment funding until he is 16.
Jacob has been playing since he was four, and is undefeated in doubles and singles for under-12s.
The youngster says he is not daunted by the challenge and is looking forward to taking on the world’s best tennis prodigies.
He said: “I love everything about playing tennis. Since Marcel du Coudray began coaching me last August it has got more intense.
“I train for longer and he works me a lot harder, putting me up against more challenging opponents, but it’s all worthwhile.”
Jacob says he admires Roger Federer for his technique and Rafael Nadal for his fighting spirit.
He was taught to play by his grandparents and mum Samantha, who works in HR, and lives with dad Craig and brother James 23.
He continued: “I remember I used to play against my granddad in his back garden in Penicuik – though I had to keep my eye on the ball because it wasn’t the best surface so there were a lot of rubbish bounces.”
His grandfather pushed for Jacob to join the Tennis Academy Scotland , which trains pupils from Edinburgh schools.
Academy coach Marcel du Coudray said: “The amount of dedication and focus Jacob has is truly incredible.
“Other coaches who have watched him play say he reminds them of a young Tim Henman.”
Dave McDermott, spokesman for Tennis Scotland, said: “This is brilliant news for Jacob and another example of how the Andy Murray effect is working
“We wish him the best of luck.”
The tournament in Paris will begin on May 27 and will run to June 2.
Andy Murray, 25, is currently ranked No. 1 in the UK and No. 2 in the world, and is the Olympic singles champion.
The star began playing at the age of three, and his first taste of tournament triumph came when he won an under-tens competition.
Leon Smith, who coached him between 11 and 17, said he was “unbelievably competitive.”