In this series Britwatch are bringing you the future of British Tennis. Each one will focus on a different junior player, providing information on their game. They will be the names to look out for in the future grand slam events.
First under the Britwatch spotlight is the top British junior boy.
Matthew Rankin at 17 is in his final year on the junior circuit. The Brit hails from Edinburgh and has been training at Stirling University, as part of Tennis Scotland’s National Player Programme. Last season the youngster had a very good year and rose up the rankings quickly.
Rankin won four titles in the 2021 season, but his consistency was key. The young Brit mostly made at least the quarter-final of the events entered. Speaking to Edinburgh Evening News before flying out to Australia to complete in the warm up event, and the Junior Grand slam Rankin regarded his best win was the title he claimed in Cyprus.
“Probably my victory in Cyprus in November in the J3 ITF stands out. I played really well in hot conditions and I felt like I battled through so it was a great feeling to win the title.”
The Brit made the quarter-final of the junior event in Nicosia without dropping a set. The first tough match of the event was against the Cypriot number 2 Stylianos Christodoulou. In very un British like conditions, so basically hot, Rankin battled back after losing the first set and got the spot in the final.
That was against the top ranked Greek junior Theodoros Mitsakos. Just like in the semi-final Rankin lost the first set, but once again took the next two sets to claim the title. Due to results like this and his consistency, the Brit is currently ranked number 87 in the overall junior rankings (as at 28.02.22)
The youngster is a handy doubles player too. Rankin reached the semi-final of the ITF event in Glasgow, not a junior event before being defeated. Rankin will be moving to the USA in the autumn of next year, he will be following Cameron Norrie & Paul Jubb in studying whilst playing Tennis at an American University.
Rankin confirmed on his Instagram that he has verbally committed to University of Kentucky mens’ tennis for Autumn 2023. The Kentucky sports teams are known as The Wildcats. Although it means leaving Scotland for the states, the US model in universities seems to be the leader. Many Brits have gone down this route. Norrie studied on scholarship with TCU (Texas Christian University) and was a Horned Frog. Paul Jubb studied at University of South Carolina. Jubb also became the first Brit to win the NCAA Singles National Championship.
The Australian Open wasn’t a good event for the young Brit as he was defeated in the first round. However Rankin wants to become a professional tennis player and the experience that playing in a grand slam, even a junior one will stand him in good stead in the years ahead.
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