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Amiens Diary - 14/18th March 2003

Day 1
I was off to Amiens in France with my coach Paul Dent. I have been away many times but never before had I been away, one on one, with my coach. I left my house at about 9.30am to get to Dover for the ferry. We finally arrived late at the club in Amiens. We practiced from 8.15 until 9.30pm. The atmosphere was great there. We were in a big shed with four clay courts. It was freezing in there because there were no doors covering the entrances. We were on a court next to two older club members and the other two courts were empty. You really had to enjoy playing the game to be there and I loved it.
Day 2
The following day I practiced and later that evening I signed in for the tournament.
Day 3
It was the day of my first match. I practiced for half an hour in the morning and then had a shower and got changed to prepare for my match. It was time. I had warmed up and was ready to play a French girl, Jessica Alexandre. I walked on court before the referee had even got there. I changed my shoes and got my racquet out of my bag. The referee came on court but there was still no sign of my opponent. Ten minutes later and I was still jumping up and down to try and keep warm. Five minutes until I would get a walkover. I kept jumping and five minutes later my racquet was back in my bag and I was through to the second round of qualifying.
Day 4
The next day I played Olivia Cappelletti. Olivia was a member of the club the tournament was being held at and so naturally all the club members were there clapping all her shots. I won the match 6/2 6/3 feeling that I played about a five out of a ten but had won which was the main thing.
Day 5
It was the last round of qualifying and if I won my match today then I would get points for my world ranking and start to get prize money. I had to play Gaelle Widmer. I once again did not play my best tennis and my serve was having a hic-cup so I was serving quite a few double faults. I found this hard as usually my serve is one of my strengths and I would get lots of free points. However, I managed to play with heart and fought well to win the match 7/6(3) 7/6(3). I was through to the main draw.
Day 6
The main draw and I was to play another French girl Karla Mraz who is ranked 403 in the world. I was positive that if I played my game, I would have a chance at winning the match. However, I lost the match 2/6 1/6. I was dissappointed with how I had played as I know that I can do a lot better but I had done well to qualify playing at a six out of ten which shows my potential. I had earnt 0.75 towards my world ranking.

I had not known what to expect going on a trip just with my coach. Would it be too intense? Too serious? Would I be able to have fun at the same time? It was great. It was intense when it needed to be, serious about the tennis but not too much that it got in the way of relaxing and having fun at the same time. Overall it was a worthwhile trip. Just to say a big 'THANKS' to my coach Paul Dent for putting up with me and helping me with this experience.

Mel xx

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