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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2007, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Road to Wimbledon part one
Anna Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick will be playing in the junior event at Wimbledon
With Wimbledon looming the BBC Sport website is following the progress of Briton Anna Fitzpatrick through qualifying and at The Championships themselves.

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, Anna won two matches in the LTA play-offs to earn a wildcard into the qualifying rounds for the women's singles.

There she beat Japan's Junri Namigata 7-5 6-0 on Tuesday before going down 6-1 6-2 to eighth seed Mathilde Johansson of France on Wednesday.

"I'm definitely excited about playing in my first Wimbledon," says Fitzpatrick.

"Last year I played qualifying for the junior event at Roehampton but lost in the final round. This time, it's especially rewarding because I had to win some matches to earn my wildcard, it wasn't just handed to me.

"I was really happy - and pretty surprised - after my second win in the play-offs and I was told my next match would be in Wimbledon qualifying.

"Even though I only had to win two matches, they were both tough and I felt like I'd earned it.

"Over the past few weeks on the grass, I proved that I can compete and be tough at this level, so I'm really looking forward to putting my game on the court and seeing how it hurts people at the top.

Anna Fitzpatrick
I want to be getting into the main draws through my ranking and not through wildcards as soon as possible

"Being part of the Monte-Carlo Tennis Academy and having the famous Country Club as a base is fantastic, and I think that will help when it comes to playing at big tournaments such as Wimbledon.

"Training regularly at a Masters Series club shows you that it's no big deal. When you travel a lot, you get used to working hard in different environments and you realise that a tennis court is a tennis court, wherever it is in the world.

"Monte Carlo is also the base for a number of top professionals such as Novak Djokovic, Ivan Ljubicic, Jonas Bjorkman, Thomas Johansson, Justine Henin and Daniela Hantuchova, so I get the opportunity to watch them practise on court and see them train in the gym, which is a great learning experience.

"I want to become a Grand Slam champion like some of them, and that is always at the back of my mind, but for now, I'm just concentrating on improving my game every time I step on a court.

"I want to be getting into the main draws through my ranking and not through wildcards as soon as possible, but that could be next year, the year after or three years from now.

"Because this will be my first senior Grand Slam, I don't have any expectations going into the tournament.

"There would be too many things to take into consideration, like who I'm going to play and how I'll be feeling on match day. I like to take each match as it comes and keep my head in the present.

"I went to Wimbledon for the first time in 1998 having travelled down from Sheffield with my parents and my friend Joe.

"We all stayed in a tent overnight, apart from my mum who got too cold so she slept in the car.

"Before we left Sheffield, my mum had supposedly sprayed the tent to make it waterproof, but I think she made that up because it rained so heavily that night, all our clothes and sleeping bags got completely soaked!

"I loved watching Pete Sampras, he was the best player in the world when I was growing up. I liked to watch Pat Rafter, too.

"I told my coach the other day that I didn't know why I liked to watch him, and in the end we concluded that it was because I thought he was fit!

"I also admired Martina Hingis, she never looked rushed when she played and also had excellent timing.

"To play at Wimbledon, where they were all so successful, will be very special."

  • Anna will be returning later in the week to let us know how her qualifying campaign went and look ahead to the start of The Championships.


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