Melanie South - Great Britain Tennis Player

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Profile for magazine - 1/12/2000

Profile - 0 - 8

Melanie was born on 3rd May 1986 in Kingston Surrey. As a baby, I regularly took Melanie to the local pool and she could swim alone at only two years of age!
At three, Melanie would run out to collect up the tennis balls when her brother had his tennis lesson. She also had tap and ballet lessons, joined a gym club and was now diving in the deep end at the pool! She was quite fearless.
At four, Melanie was copying other swimmers and trying her hand at butterfly and swimming lengths in the roped off area that was for the 'serious swimmers'. The swimming club would unfortunately not let her join them until she was five. Melanie started to pick up a racquet and hit a ball.
At five, Melanie was collecting medals for dance, badges for gym and certificates for swimming. She finally joined the swimming club.
At six, Melanie entered her first tennis tournament which was for Short Tennis. Melanie had never played this before. A friend took her along and Melanie took the wrapping off her new racquet and by the time I arrived she was beating players who had been training throught the year for the tournament! She went to the desk asking when she could play again. She loved the game. As we were not a family who played tennis (although sport is in the blood as her Dad was a professional footballer and her Grandad was a professional boxer)we were perplexed as what to do next. Another mother advised that IF Melanie could take losing, the best way to learn was to put her in everything and this is what we did! We learnt the hard way about the game of tennis (in fact each tournament still brings something new) and I am forever grateful for that small but very important piece of advice which I have always passed on to other new parents.
By seven, Melanie was offered County Training with Surrey and the Swimming Club came to a halt, shortly followed by the Gym Club but Melanie continued with the dance classes which she really enjoyed. She won a gold medal for a Short Tennis tournament and then entered and won the Surrey 8 and under Short Tennis Tournament. She was now the Surrey Champion. She was invited to play Short Tennis at Wimbledon which was a wonderful opportunity and something she thoroughly enjoyed. She then won the Parklangley Short Tennis Tournament and her trophy was awarded by David Weeton.
At eight, Melanie swopped her short racquet and foam ball for a larger racquet and playing on a full size court with an umpire in the chair, she won the 10 and under Kent Winter Singles tournament.

by Sheila J. South

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