Melanie South - Great Britain Tennis Player

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LTA WEBSITE - 29/07/2009

Expectations and What if's

As tennis players (as any sports person would know), you get criticised a lot. Around the grass court season for the Brits is the time we get asked “do you feel the pressure from the media?” I am not denying that we are aware of the media and how they want to pounce on us if we all lose our matches but the answer I give is “No, the pressure we feel is the pressure we put on ourselves.

I have very high expectations of what I am capable of doing and am pretty hard on myself and fail to reach them many times. I am starting to learn that you really can't do your best all of the time in terms of what tennis you produce on the court or how many sprints you can complete on the treadmill but if you give 110% then you really can't ask for anything else and should be content with what you have done.
When the outcome is losing a match I am never happy even If I did give 110% but after having a few hours to cool down I have started to learn to look at the positives. I am beginning to give myself a bit of a break and maybe even a pat on the shoulder now and then.

There are always the what ifs and buts. What if I had not chased points to make the main draw of the Australian Open and had a longer off season??? What if I had not taken a mid year off season and chased points to make the main draw of Wimbledon on my ranking instead??? In both cases I made a choice and followed it through.

At the end of 2008 I played late into the year and achieved my goal of making my first main draw of a Grand Slam on my own ranking. After Miami I took seven weeks off to train as I felt I had broken into the top 100 earlier in the year not feeling very fit and not playing the type of tennis I know I am capable of. I took on a new trainer, Jez Green, and we achieve some big gains in getting into shape for the sport I want to have a career in.

I always expect that people will ask the “what if” questions. Critics are there to criticise. I view it as a positive. If I was not doing well in the sport I have decided to dedicate a great proportion of my life to then no one would even know my name.

When you are in the media and people are talking about your career that's just it – it’s my career and I am the only one who can change the outcome. My decisions make my own path in the tennis world. I am on a year long fitness programme with Jez and am continuing to develop my tennis with Simon Walsh, my coach.

I love what I do and even though there are tough days where you want to break every racket you own or jump straight on a flight home for the day just to see friends and family you have not seen in months, there are so many good times. I have still not produced the tennis I am capable of and am looking forward to my future in tennis. As well as there are critics there are so many people who believe in me and support me. They get me through the tough days and I thank each and every one of them.

On a personal note I would just like to say congratulations to one of my best friends Jo and Ross Fisher who had there first baby girl. I can’t wait to get back home and meet her.

All my love xxx

by Melanie South

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