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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2007, 19:30 GMT 20:30 UK
Road to Wimbledon part four
Anna Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick is playing in her last ever junior event

Anna Fitzpatrick is the last remaining Briton in the girls' singles at Wimbledon, and the BBC Sport website has been following her progress.

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

She beat fourth seed Ksenia Milevskaya of Belarus 6-4 6-4 on Thursday to reach the last 16 and here she describes how she did it.


"It's been a strange week with all the rain and a lot of media interest in me today, but I'm still in the junior tournament, I've beaten a seed, and I'm English so I don't mind the rain!

"In the locker room, a lot of the other girls were getting stressed, saying 'I want to go home, I've had enough of this,' but I didn't mind at all - I'm really relaxed when it rains. I'm quite a relaxed person really.

"Before I go out on court I do a warm-up, and I prepare mentally for the match so that I know exactly what to do when I get on the court. You need to go out confidently, and with complete belief that you are going to beat whoever you are playing.

606: DEBATE

"My coaches from the Monte Carlo Tennis Academy talk to me to make sure I have the right tactics. After winning my first round in the junior singles, my second match against fourth seed Ksenia Milevskaya on Wednesday was delayed all day by rain.

"At 8pm, I thought they were going to bag it and that we wouldn't get on court. But they told us we had to wait, so there was just me and my opponent left in the locker room - everyone else had gone home!

"I don't know why but I quite enjoy playing at night, whereas the other girl was getting annoyed. When it was 3-2 in the first set, her coach was telling her to try to get the match suspended but we played for another 45 minutes, and that helped me.

"I won the first set 6-4. That night, I was happy with the way I had played, and even though I was 0-2 down in the second, I knew I could still win.

"Overnight I didn't really think about the match. You probably think that when you wake up the next morning during Wimbledon that you would think about the match straight away, but I was thinking about other things that I was going to do.

"I don't know why, but I wasn't thinking about the match at all, and it probably helped me to stay relaxed. It's an advantage of my personality I think - it could be a disadvantage because you could get too relaxed, but if you get the balance right, it can help you play well.

Anna Fitzpatrick
I looked at the television monitor and saw that I had as many interview requests as Marcos Baghdatis!

"Also, when I go on court, I pretend that I'm two games worse off than I really am, so that I am really working hard to get a break back, even if I'm level in the match!

"That helps me to stay calm when it's close to the end - if I'm winning 5-0, I pretend it's only 3-0 and just another game I need to win. I came back and won the second set 6-4 to win the match, but I didn't get over-excited.

"OK, she's the fourth seed, but I don't take too much notice of rankings. I just try to beat whoever is in front of me. I used to play the name and ranking of my opponent a lot more, but now I try to just play the ball.

"My game is all about coming to the net, to control as many points as I can. I serve and volley every so often to mix it up and from the back of the court I am always looking to attack. If I do that, and I work the points well, I am tough to beat on grass. There are not many players, even at the top, who come to the net.

"Justine Henin and Amelie Mauresmo do, and just look at what happens when they do it. They are able to destroy the opposition because they have an extra dimension to their games.

"It gives me confidence to know that I have the ability to volley. It's what my whole game is built upon. I've been working on it for three-and-a-half years now. At the start I was just kamikaze - rushing to the net without knowing what I was doing, and getting passed for fun.

"The more you do it though, and the stronger you get by working in the gym, the easier it gets. At the start, I didn't want to do it, but it was a matter of trusting my coaches.

"They made a contract up for me when I was 15 that I had to sign to say that I had to serve and volley on one point in every game, and that I had to return and come to the net at least once a game as well. If I didn't keep to the contract, they fined me!

"I'm glad that we did that, because if we hadn't I would have stayed at the back of the court and never learned how to volley. It's more natural to me now, and I feel I know when is the right time to come to the net.

"The opponents don't like to play against it because they aren't used to it. The girl I played today didn't have the best serve, so as long as I attacked her, she was getting rushed.

"It was really strange afterwards because I looked at the television monitor and saw that I had as many interview requests as Marcos Baghdatis! I had only ever done one or two before, but it was fun.

"I told the journalists a few more of the nicknames my brothers have given me, so my brothers are proud of me for that! I'll also be on local BBC television tonight, so my Grandma will like that. Hopefully I can keep it going."

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

  • SEE ALSO
    Road to Wimbledon part three
    02 Jul 07 |  Tennis
    Road to Wimbledon part two
    22 Jun 07 |  Tennis
    Road to Wimbledon part one
    20 Jun 07 |  Tennis


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