Exeter’s young tennis star targets Wimbledon

An Exeter school pupil is eyeing Ivy League and Wimbledon success when he begins college life across the Atlantic in September. Matt Rutter, currently an Upper Sixth student, has been offered a place to study economics at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania where he can also develop his thriving tennis career with the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) which has saw both John Isner and Cameron Norrie (the current UK number one) compete before joining the professional circuit.

Matt, who is based in Exeter, played Junior Wimbledon in 2021 and, before Covid-19 was set to be ranked among the top 50 junior players in the world, is currently undertaking a four-hour round trip to Bath, three to four times a week to allow him to train at the Bath High Performance Academy. This commitment to his sport has seen him play in 33 countries and four continents, which he also manages to fit into a busy and demanding academic schedule.

It was this dedication to his academic life, as well as his sport, that earned him three offers from Ivy League colleges. However, it was the University of Pennsylvania (or Penn as it’s affectionately known), home to the Wharton Business School, whose economics course is consistently ranked in the top 10 globally, that stood out for Matt. .

Of his decision to study abroad, Matt said, “As an Ivy League and NCAA Division One Sports College, Penn will give me the opportunity to combine getting a world-class education with the pursuit of high level tennis within the framework of the United States. Tennis College Team and as an individual. My time at Exeter School made it all possible – my development was constantly supported and a bespoke timetable allowed me to study 10 GCSEs, and now four A Levels, whilst giving me time each week to train and compete as a GB representative. I am extremely grateful to the school and staff for enabling me to achieve both my academic and athletic ambitions.

Matt, whose tennis role models are Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, hopes to balance his continued educational development with his participation in ATP Futures and Challenger tournaments. Currently, only 10% of the players he competes against are in full-time education, with the majority focusing solely on tennis.

Louise Simpson, Principal of Exeter School, said: “We are delighted that Matt is excelling in both his academic life and his sporting career. He is a hugely committed and ambitious young man and we are delighted to have been able to support him as he succeeds both on and off the pitch. Our school strives to provide each student with the opportunities they deserve to forge their own identity, supporting them in their individual journeys and offering guidance to enable them to find their own life path. It’s clear that for Matt, this journey will be particularly exciting to watch.

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