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  My Diary: Tennis player
Updated 16 October 2002, 09.46
Tennis player Laura
Hi everyone, I'm Laura, I'm 14 and I'm a tennis player.

When I'm not playing in a tournament I train for four hours a day with my coach.

I play at one of four academies for the top young tennis players in Britain.

This is my diary.

5-14 September

We have a new head coach now! He said we wouldn't be able to play in the 17 and under British Women's Tennis Masters tournament!

Because he's new, he doesn't know our style and he's also taught us some new techniques and movements.

So he thought it would be better if we went through a development phase until he gets to know how we play.

But because I had already entered the tournament, I was allowed to do it.

He's really nice and a pretty good coach - his name is Carl Maes. He is from Belgium and was Kim Clijsters' coach for a bit - she's number 10 in the world.

14-27 September

I did well in the Masters - I came 5th!

It was good because I was playing people older than me and some of them I had not played before.

It was quite a high standard and I didn't think I'd get that good a place, but I played quite well.

I had trained as normal all that week. The Masters is not as big a tournament as the Nationals, but I was still quite nervous just because a lot of them are older - some are 17. But that makes me play better!

There was one other 14-year-old, but that's all.


Last weekend I played in a match placing which decides your rating. I played two people who are the same rating as me and one above - I am a 2.1.

The scale basically goes from 8.4 down to 1.1. When you get to 1.1 then you'll probably get a world ranking, so the lower you are the better you are.

It's quite hard to get your rating down and there are only two ratings tournaments a year. As you get into the ones, it gets much harder though.

I have a few good friends who I hate playing against 'cos you just have a laugh! But the older ones are sometimes not very friendly.

And you know, school's going OK! I thought it would be really hard with training, but it's not.

I still don't get home until about 7.30pm at the moment. But I do normal stuff like watch telly! Dream Team's definitely my favourite and I make sure I watch it.

I don't actually feel tired when I come out of school. But then I start the warm-up and feel really tired.

At the start of the academy training, I really wondered if I'd be able to do it.

But they teach you just to work through your tiredness so I am much better now!

Check back in a month's time to see how Laura is getting on with her new coach

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