Nine years of age and Melanie was the Regional Champion. She was pleased to meet Greg Rusedski when he had just come to Britain and he was touring the country on a promotional bus. Greg was very kind to Melanie and her brother and promised that I could take a photo of them with him when he had signed all the autographs. True to his word, although he was being called to get on the bus, he signed all the autographs and then posed for the photo. We have that photo proudly displayed to this day. Melanie learnt from this how important fans are. We all remember Greg for his kindness on that day and hope that one day we will meet him again to tell him how important that small act of kindness was.
Melanie was now entering many tournaments for both short tennis and full tennis and the shelf was starting to fill with over 50 trophies! She was now being coached by Lesley Charles at the Wimbledon Lakeside Club and being invited to Rover Fun Days which were for the best youngsters in the country. Melanie won the Milford on Sea 10 and under title and reached the final of the 14 and under. We were lucky that Mark Cox was taking a tennis clinic one day and we still have the lovely photo of Mark with Melanie and her brother proudly displayed on our wall that had appeared in the local newspaper.
At ten, Melanie was the Surrey Country 10 and under Champion (she also reached the semi final of the 12 and under). She was now being invited to attend National Training Camps held at Bisham Abbey with Olga Morozova and a highlight was being invited to represent Great Britain in France in a 12 and under tournament where Melanie reached the semi final of the consolation event. She reached the semi final of the 'unofficial' 12 and under National Championships held at Bisham Abbey and organised by the LTA.
At eleven, Melanie was a member of the Surrey 13 and under County Cup team which gained promotion to Division One and she attended a Cliff Richard Day at the David Lloyd Club in Raynes Park.
At twelve, Melanie played number 1 for Surrey in the County Cup team which won the Division 1 Title.
At thirteen, Melanie was also a member of the 18 and under team which won Division 1 of the County Cup for the third year running.
At 14, Melanie reached the third round of the 15 and under National Championships where she lost to the eventual Champion. She also reached the semi final of the Doubles. In the 18 and under Nationals in Nottingham, Melanie won all three matches in the qualifying event and won her first round in the Main Draw before losing to fellow Surrey player Julia Smith (three years her senior). She won through to the finals of the Sunday Telegraph Tournament and in Florida she won the Sunday Telegraph 14 and under title. She did this when her father was taken ill and was in intensive care, he wrote her a note saying "win for you and me" and win she did. A reporter there was so impressed that she invited Melanie to write for her tennis magazine and write her diaries on their website.
Melanie returned to Florida and reached the semi final of the Miami Shores tournament and then went on to play in the Junior Orange Bowl where she won four out of her six matches. She represented Surrey in the 18 and under County Cup in Welwyn where the team won the Division 1 title for the fourth year in a row!!!
This year will see Melanie playing in more Girobank Tour tournaments and $10,000 tournaments. Her aim is to gain a Junior World Ranking and WTA Ranking and she is thrilled to have just received a letter from the LTA inviting her to play in two ETA tournaments in Belgium in April.
Melanie is still coached by Lesley Charles and is now a member of the LTA Academy Squad at Sutton where she is trained by Jonathon Smith, Paul Dent, Iain Hughes and ex professional Kate Warne-Holland. She has Sarah Sullivan as her fitness trainer and the Surrey Physio is just upstairs at the centre.