Arthur Fery was destined to have a career in sport.
His father Loic is the owner of French football club Lorient and his mother Olivia was a former professional tennis player. Tennis is also the sport that 18-year-old Fery excels in, yet he insists that he was not pressured into following the same career path as his mother. The sport was simply fun for Fery, who grew up living in Wimbledon near the All England Club, until his standout talent made becoming a tennis player an attainable goal.
“I never had the idea that I wanted to be a professional tennis player until around 16. Before that, it was more about enjoying the sport; I did not take it too seriously. My mother helped me get into tennis at first, but never forced me to pursue a tennis career.”
This relaxed introduction to tennis and development as a player has paid off so far. He is currently the highest ranked British male in the ITF Junior rankings and ranked number 12 in the world. Fery’s career, however, is just getting started. He has decided to spend the next few years playing tennis at an American university, Stanford University in California, a choice that has paid off for many other players in the past.
Fery’s decision to play college tennis in America sees him follow in the footsteps of other British players including Cameron Norrie, Paul Jubb and Joe Salisbury, as well as other top professionals such as John Isner and Kevin Anderson. Fery is clear that this next step in his development as a player was a family decision, with his education being a priority as much as his tennis.
“My mum helped me a lot when making the decision to go to school and seeing the success of Cameron Norrie, John Isner and many other pro players who chose the American college pathway also convinced me that it was the right route to take.
“The main reason I decided to opt for the college route was because I wanted to keep my academics at a high standard, as well as pursuing my tennis career. Stanford was the ideal school for me to go to because it provided a high level of both aspects.”
In Fery, Great Britain has an extremely talented player with high ambitions, who will be a part of an exciting group of young British players attempting to make their mark on the sport over the next few years. In the junior events at Roland Garros all three British singles players (Fery, Felix Gill and Matilda Mutavdzic) reached the third round.
Jack Draper and Emma Raducanu are two other talented British teenagers who recently graduated the junior tour and are beginning their rise up the professional rankings. Fery is enthusiastic in his praise for the younger generation.
“It’s great to have lots of good players in the country around my age. We have a great group practicing at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, and that really pushes everyone to strive for better, with so much talent and drive under one roof.”
These quotes come a few weeks after comments made by Heather Watson questioning the future of British tennis, saying there were no top young British players to speak of. It is clear Fery does not agree, and he and the other young British talents are hoping to prove Watson wrong.
The recent breakthroughs of fellow teenagers on the professional tour, such as Roland Garros women’s champion Iga Swiatek and men’s quarterfinalist Jannik Sinner, gives Fery reason to be optimistic regarding his own ambitions.
“It shows that everything is possible. These guys are young, Sinner is only one year older than me, and they believe that they can compete at the highest level of our sport even when this young and inexperienced.”
It is now a time of transition for Fery, who has cut short his junior career to focus on professional events and university. He will spend the rest of the year playing in Futures tournaments, the third tier of professional tennis, before heading to Stanford.
“Roland Garros was my last Juniors tournament. I will now dedicate the end of 2020 to improving my pro ranking in Futures. I will go to Stanford in January if the COVID situation over there gets a little better.
Then it’s all about climbing up the ATP rankings, and hopefully one day making it into [the] top 100.”