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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 July 2006, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Cavaday hits back at Brit bashers
By Mike Burnett
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Naomi Cavaday
Cavaday refuses to be written off before she has a chance to shine

With Andy Murray blazing a trail in the men's game, the question remains over who will lead the British women out of the tennis doldrums.

It seemed to be the same old story at this year's Wimbledon with the women all tumbling out of the main draw by the second round.

But big-serving teenager Naomi Cavaday has done enough over two weeks at SW19 to suggest there might be a glimmer of hope for the future.

"I definitely think that you need a lot of confidence and I have that confidence," the 17-year-old from Kent told BBC Sport.

"I'm disappointed with every match I lose - some people take that for arrogance but that's the way it goes.

"But being realistic, the amount of work I've got to do on my game is a lot - much more than anybody else of my age, including the top juniors."

When I was younger, I could hit the ball harder than the guys

Naomi Cavaday
Despite going out in the first round on her senior debut, Cavaday still impressed by pushing 18th seed Ai Sugiyama hard in her rain-interrupted match before falling to a 6-4 7-5 defeat.

It was not a bad result, considering Sugiyama went on to reach the fourth round.

Her performance in the girls' singles was even more promising as she became Britain's first junior girls quarter-finalist for four years before losing to Poland's Urszula Radwanska.

Although Cavaday has been playing tennis since an early age, the youngster from Chislehurst admits she has been a late developer.

"I started playing when I was about four or five. When I was younger, I very much played for fun. Yes I wanted to win, but I didn't win very often.

"I was nowhere near the top of my age group. I wasn't in a regional academy, I wasn't in the national training squad.

Born: 24 April 1989 in Chislehurst, Kent
Plays: Left-handed
British junior ranking: 1
World senior ranking: 517
Recent highlights: Winning the 2006 Istres International Junior singles and doubles titles
"When I was younger, I could hit the ball harder than the guys - that was my talent, but it was just getting it in the court which was the problem."

Formerly a pupil at Bromley High School, she moved at the age of 13 to Queenswood School in Hertfordshire on a tennis scholarship and is now a part of the LTA's Performance programme at London's Queen's Club.

"When I reached 14, I matured and thought 'you know what, I want to do this,' said the left-hander.

"I set myself a goal about just over two years ago that I would get into Queen's - I was nowhere at the time.

"But by the time the Queen's offer came around, I was junior number one in the country and hardly losing a match in Britain."

Of course, being British means that Cavaday knows many people are already writing off her chances of long-term success.

"It really is a tough sport, I've been talking about it with the other British women and everybody's kind of got it the same.

"But then I also agree with the stick we get because at the end of the day, if you look at it on paper, we haven't got the results or rankings.

"So I agree with both sides - yes, we're not doing great, but it really is tough."



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