SW19 defeat is learning curve for Anastasia Mikheeva

Anastasia Mikheeva was defeated in two sets by Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia
Anastasia Mikheeva was defeated in two sets by Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia
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Everywhere you look there are Saltires at Wimbledon, including Anastasia Mikheeva’s fingernails yesterday.

Four Scottish teens have lined up in the girls’ singles at the All England Club this week.

Isabelle Wallace was a confident 6-1, 6-2 winner but Maia Lumsden and Anna Brogan lost to the No.2 and No.3 seeds respectively – and there’s no shame in those losses as they adjust to tennis at this level.

There was also a defeat for 15-year-old Edinburgh schoolgirl Mikheeva against a Latvian rivalwo years her senior – Jelena Ostapenko winning 6-4, 6-3.

“She was a really good player, she got behind every one of my good shots and seemed to find a winner,” admitted the teenager, who has been winning matches at under-18 level since the age of 13. “I watched her play last week and I did some analysis and had my tactics straight but she was just too good for me.

“However, I’m a lot closer to these girls than I expected to be. I’m progressing step by step. I’m not thinking about results but I can stay in rallies and win a few points against amazing players now. I know how much work there is to do though.

“I don’t feel like I belong at Wimbledon yet. I still think everyone is much better than me.”

Mikheeva arrived at SW19 buoyed by an encouraging run to the third round at the Nike International in Roehampton last week – an event Ostapenko won. She is coached by Marcel du Coudray at Tennis Academy Scotland, but admits she’d be open to moving abroad, with Brogan and Lumsden now based abroad in Florida and the Netherlands.

“At the moment I’m very happy with my set-up in Scotland, but if needs be I will do whatever it takes to progress my tennis career,” she added.

“Judy Murray plays such a big role with tennis in Scotland and it’s great to have her around. I talked to Andy Murray the other day at practice and it’s just so cool to be around someone like that. Andy is my idol. I might be Russian genetically, but I’ve lived in Scotland all my life and culturally I’m British.

“Even playing in the juniors gives you a glimpse what it must be like to be him at Wimbledon. The support was amazing, I couldn’t believe it when I heard someone shouting my name and realised I didn’t know them.”