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Last Updated: Monday, 2 July 2007, 08:40 GMT 09:40 UK
Road to Wimbledon part three
Anna Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick is focused on success in the junior event

The BBC Sport website is following the progress of Briton Anna Fitzpatrick through her first Wimbledon.

The 18-year-old from Sheffield is currently ranked 489 in the world, 15 in Britain and trains at the Monte Carlo Tennis Academy.

Already assured of a place at Wimbledon's junior event, she won a place in the Ladies Doubles.

Here she describes life behind the scenes, the story of her first Wimbledon match, and why she is convinced she can do damage in the junior tournament.

"When I arrived at Wimbledon at the start of the tournament I was really excited, but not overwhelmed.

"Maybe a couple of years ago I would have walked through the gates starry-eyed - I used to go and stand by the practice courts to get Federer and Roddick's autograph, but I have matured a lot since then.

"I've met a lot of top players in Monte Carlo where our Academy is based and you realise that they are just completely normal people. They just happen to have a lot of talent.

"I've got a lot of respect for them, but I want to be one of them in the future and to get there as soon as possible I need to feel comfortable around them.

"Wimbledon is a lot nicer than the challenger tournaments I have been playing in. There are courtesy cars to take us everywhere, good food and great facilities, but a tennis court is a tennis court wherever it is, so I didn't feel any extra pressure.

"Emily (Webley-Smith) and I were drawn to play Aiko Nakamura and Tamarine Tanasugarn of Japan in the doubles. They are two players who have both been inside the Top 70 in the world, so we knew we were the underdogs.

Anna Fitzpatrick
If I put my game on the court and I have the right mentality in every match, there is no reason why I can't win the junior tournament

"It looked likely that we would play on Tuesday, but then with the rain, it was put back until Wednesday, and then in the end, late Thursday evening in dark, cold, windy conditions.

"It is frustrating to have those delays, but you need to be ready for whenever you are told to play. At one point we were told we might be put on Court One.

"I was so excited, and I went straight away to my coach Dave Sammel because I knew that he would calm me down and talk me through it step by step so that I wasn't rushing when I went on court.

"In the end I was gutted that we didn't go on Court One, it would have been awesome, but we were put on Court Nine.

"Perhaps it helped me to go on court without being nervous because I was prepared for Court One and suddenly I was going out on what was like a park court.

"There were a lot of people watching, but once you are out there you need to try to stay focused. At the same time, there is a fine line between being so focused that you press too hard, and being relaxed.

"A few times my brothers shouted out 'Come on Fat Bloke', which made me laugh and helped to relax me. 'Fat Bloke' is my nickname because I am quite the opposite!

"Emily and I started well, going 15-40 on their serve in the first set, but we didn't take our chance. I think if we had won that, the first set would have been a different story, but we lost it 6-1.

"In the second set we had loads of break point chances, but couldn't convert them, and we lost it 6-4. It was my first Wimbledon experience, and I was happy that we tried to make things happen, but they did the basics better than us.

"It's disappointing to lose but I'm pleased that I didn't back away from the challenge, and I'll take confidence from it to go into the junior singles and doubles tournament.

"My first junior match should have been on Saturday, but the rain has meant it has been put back until Monday.

"I keep saying that I don't have any specific expectations of the junior event, but I do know that if I put my game on the court and I have the right mentality in every match, there is no reason why I can't win the tournament.

"I know that is a big statement to make, and I will have to play each match the right way to have a chance, but I am going to try to take a senior mentality into the junior event. If I can do that, I can do some damage."

  • Anna will return during The Championships to tell us about her first experience of the All England Club.

    Road to Wimbledon part two
    22 Jun 07 |  Tennis
    Road to Wimbledon part one
    20 Jun 07 |  Tennis


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