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Last Updated: Monday, 20 August 2007, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Anna Fitzpatrick diary
Anna Fitzpatrick
Anna Fitzpatrick became the first Briton for six years to reach the semi-finals of the girls' singles at this year's Wimbledon, and the BBC Sport website followed her progress throughout.

Last year, the 18-year-old from Sheffield was recruited to the Monte Carlo Tennis Academy - the world's first touring tennis academy where only players with top-100 potential are considered.

Anna will continue to send regular diaries over the next year.

I am now in Moscow, having just endured a grind of a journey.

I was on holiday with my family in Lanzarote last week, arrived back into Manchester on Thursday evening, unpacked in Sheffield and then went straight back to Manchester airport with my tennis gear a few hours later for my early-morning flight to Russia.

It was the first time I had been on holiday for a long time, and since I don't get much chance to spend time with my family, it was nice - even though two of my brothers, Pete and Chris, were there.

Andy Murray was in the gym before almost anyone else had woken up

I spent most of the time by the pool, while they played Championship Manager. They also came up with a new nickname for me - Gertrudus Maximus - to add to Fat Bloke, Big Nuts and Deirdre.

It was good to be able to relax with them for a while, but I don't mind travelling and being away from home at all - I know that being a tennis player is what I want to do in life, and to me the sacrifices are not big.

Still, I was in a bad mood as I started my journey to Russia because it was a very early start.

Luckily, I was travelling alone on the way to my connection in Amsterdam, so my mood didn't affect anyone else (other than a security guard who wouldn't let me take my racket bag on-board; I had a few words to say to him!).

When I got to Amsterdam, I bumped into Ana Veselinovic (a fellow Monte Carlo Tennis Academy member and regular doubles partner) and Igor Tomasevic (MCTA coach) in the passport-control queue.

Ana is from Serbia, and there you find out very early the players that really want to be tennis players.

They don't have the facilities Britain have, and so if they don't really want to be tennis players, they won't make the effort because it's so difficult to get court time and the facilities are often uncomfortable, especially in winter.

This may go some way to explaining the success of the Eastern bloc countries in tennis, since those who stick it out are the driven ones.

I stayed at the new National Tennis Centre in Roehampton during the grass-court season and the facilities are great

I certainly appreciated the privilege of being able to train where everything you need as a player is available for you to improve.

I try to learn by observing the best players in the world and noticed how Andy Murray dealt with his training during his injury.

Andy would be in the gym at Roehampton before almost anyone else had woken up, then he would disappear most days rather than socialising with other players, and then he would be back in the gym again at night when everyone else was going to bed.

I respect that and because everyone at the MCTA, especially the coaches and trainers, are so ambitious, they help fuel my desire to do the work to keep improving. I know I still have a long way to go.

I'm here in Russia for the next two weeks to play in two tough tournaments to try to get some more experience on my weakest surface, which is clay.

It is hard for me to impose my game on clay but the best way to learn is to get out there and do it and realise that long term it is great for my game. Then it's on to Ukraine, possibly India and a long spell in America. Wish me luck!

Anna Fitzpatrick was speaking to David Law at the MCTA

Anna Fitzpatrick Q&A
08 Aug 07 |  Tennis
Road to Wimbledon part six
08 Jul 07 |  Tennis
Road to Wimbledon part five
07 Jul 07 |  Tennis
Road to Wimbledon part four
05 Jul 07 |  Tennis
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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