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WIMBLEDON WEBSITE - 28/06/2006

M SOUTH INTERVIEW - DAY 3

Q. You said your ambition was to play in the first round of Wimbledon. What is it like looking forward to the second round now?

MELANIE SOUTH: Yeah, I know, I can't believe it. I'm obviously so happy to have won. Obviously, my best win ever. So, yeah, I'm really looking forward to the second round.

Q. You didn't look nervous at all. Were you?

MELANIE SOUTH: Yeah, of course you are. It's like my first singles round. I'm playing someone who is like 14 in the world. I'm going to be nervous. But also at the same time I had nothing to lose. Like no one's ever expecting me to win. I just went out there and enjoyed it.

Q. The fact that you saw the others go so close yesterday, did that inspire you at all?

MELANIE SOUTH: Yeah, I mean, Katie O'Brien, my fellow got through. Yeah, she just lost. It was a shame. I mean, I was actually watching it. I got really involved and really nervous for her. So it's almost good to get those feelings out and see what it's like. But, yeah, it really pushed me on.

Q. Katie just played her. Did she give you any tips?

MELANIE SOUTH: Yeah. We're both coached by Lucie Ahl as well. So we had a chat about it. But ultimately just go out there, enjoy it, and play my game.

Q. Could you really enjoy it in the circumstances?

MELANIE SOUTH: Oh, yeah, I loved it. Every minute.

Q. Why do you think you won? What was the secret of your success?

MELANIE SOUTH: Just belief really. Like the beginning of the grass, I didn't do too well. And then Eastbourne, I was kind of watching the players. Something just clicked, almost like the penny dropped. Just believed more. I had a close match against Sugiyama in the Eastbourne Cup just for another match. Just took the confidence from that and went out there and did it.

Q. You play here at Wimbledon?

MELANIE SOUTH: I train at Queen's. That's where I base. So, yeah, we're there.

Q. Are you a member of the Wimbledon club?

MELANIE SOUTH: The Wimbledon club next door, yeah. I play NCL for them. Obviously, on the grass, they have lovely grass courts there as well.

Q. How long have you been looking across the road at the All England Club?

MELANIE SOUTH: Ever since I was young. My first coach, Lizzie Childs, one of my first coaches, was over there. My mum and I used to come over every evening after my coaching lessons and just come and watch.

Q. Do you remember how old you were when you started that, approximately?

MELANIE SOUTH: I was probably with her when I was about around 10, 12. It was quite early in my tennis career that I had her.

Q. What was it like looking across the road? Did it inspire you?

MELANIE SOUTH: Oh, yeah, of course, it was great motivation. When I was having my coaching lessons I could hear all the crowd all cheering and wanted to know the scores and stuff, so yeah.

Q. Mum's name?

MELANIE SOUTH: Sheila.

Q. Does she play?

MELANIE SOUTH: No. God, no. My dad does coaching at local tennis club.

Q. Did you know Martina Navratilova was watching from the stands?

MELANIE SOUTH: Was she? That's probably a good thing I didn't see her.

Q. This is a shot in the arm for British women's tennis, which takes quite a lot of knocks. What are your views on the whole scene?

MELANIE SOUTH: I mean, we get quite a lot of knocks. We're all wildcards. None of us have got a ranking high enough to get in. So ultimately we're not really expected to win any matches. So it is a bit of a blow when we get kind of almost abused in the newspaper and stuff.

But it's like great to go against that, to go out there and beat someone so high. It's really a good feeling.

Q. That is the most significant win since 1998 apparently.

MELANIE SOUTH: Yeah, I just heard that.

Q. How does it feel to do something that?

MELANIE SOUTH: Yeah, really amazing to hear.

Q. Sam Smith reached the fourth round. Do you feel you have any chance?

MELANIE SOUTH: Yeah, just believing, going out there. Just take each match as it comes. Even now, I've got another match. Just got to prepare for that the same way I did this one.

Q. Can you talk about the impact of winning a match in terms of the rest of your year, the financial impact, getting attention from sponsors and stuff?

MELANIE SOUTH: Yeah, well, I'm back on the challenger circuit as soon as this is over. Obviously, I've got huge confidence beating her. Just kind of got to take that on and just keep working like I am. Just hopefully go forward, do it a lot quicker.

Q. Also the fact of the ranking points, the money, the attention.

MELANIE SOUTH: Uh huh, well, the money to me isn't as important. Obviously, it's a great help. I get a lot of help from the LTA. I think with ranking points, yeah, it will boost my ranking up quite a bit. That's always good.

Q. When you were a kid learning the game, who was your tennis idol?

MELANIE SOUTH: Monica Seles every time, yeah. I loved how she played. She was aggressive. She'd been through so many hard times and still managed to get out there, work hard, go for it. I've got an aggressive game. I've kind of done that based on her.

Q. Did you ever collect her autograph?

MELANIE SOUTH: Yeah, I did. I've got it in a little book, as well. Still got it.

Q. Was it here?

MELANIE SOUTH: She actually went and trained over the club across the road when I was playing on the court next to here. Got her autograph.

Q. Was that meeting inspirational to you?

MELANIE SOUTH: Yeah, definitely. I was kind of sitting having my break, staring at her, practicing just as hard, knowing she was playing over here, I always wanted to do that one day.

Q. Do you think Britain has the potential to turn out a world class female tennis player like Seles?

MELANIE SOUTH: Yeah, I think it's all just hard work really. You've got to have the underlying talent obviously. We're obviously moving in the right direction. Just kind of have to keep working hard.

Q. What happened to you to make this breakthrough?

MELANIE SOUTH: Started with Lucie Ahl about three years ago I think it is now. If I'd had the information I had off her, she like was a player herself, a lot younger, I think this would have happened a lot sooner. It's just getting that knowledge off someone who's been through it all, who's played against these players. Obviously, the self belief is a huge factor.

Q. You were identified at quite a young age as a great talent for the future. Do you think so far you've fulfilled that potential or is there still a lot more to come?

MELANIE SOUTH: I think there's loads more to come. I'm only like 300 in the world at the moment. I'm hoping to be up there. So, yeah, I think there's a lot more.

Q. I think also you mentioned nerves. You've had problems with nerves in the past, haven't you? You tend to get quite nervous before.

MELANIE SOUTH: Yes, I think everyone has those problems in different places. Obviously today I dealt with them well. This is probably the most like significant event that I've had these nerves. I think I've overcome it today. It just depends kind of on the situation.

Q. How do you overcome it?

MELANIE SOUTH: Just kind of yeah, I started reading The Da Vinci Code recently. I've got into that. It's kind of easy to get into. You can kind of switch off. My friends are here today. I kind of chilled out with them over lunch, just relaxed really, and go out there and said to myself, I'm going to enjoy this, I don't want to kind of waste an opportunity given to me.

Q. You said your aim is to be up there in terms of the rankings. Realistically what are the steps you're going to take?

MELANIE SOUTH: Definitely now I'm thinking I want to get top 100 definitely, and then obviously from there I will build it up.

Q. Any time scale?

MELANIE SOUTH: As soon as possible. Going through the challengers, probably I want to be 200 by the end of the year so I'm playing in all the Grand Slams and then maybe another year from there.

Q. Do you know anything about your second round opponent yet?

MELANIE SOUTH: I just went and had a quick look at them. I hadn't played either before. I know a little bit about both of them. I'll talk to my coach later about whoever comes out on top.

Q. What will you do tonight?

MELANIE SOUTH: Just the usual. I mean, I've got to prepare for another match. It's not like I've won Wimbledon. I'll just have dinner, chill out, then, yeah, get ready for probably tomorrow I think maybe.

Q. Does it help staying at home, presumably?

MELANIE SOUTH: Yeah. You can just relax, completely switch off, watch TV normally. Obviously, you've got different all my friends are nearby and stuff. There's different factors that can put you off. I kind of switch off from that, say, Look, I've got to concentrate and prepare. They're all pretty understanding.

Q. You live somewhere around the Queen's Club?

MELANIE SOUTH: New Malden, 10 minutes from here.



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