THE NERVES may have been jangling when she made her YONEX All England Open Badminton main draw bow last year, but Coventry’s Fontaine Chapman is confident she can do better on the big stage this time around.
The former Ernsford Grange pupil came through two rounds of qualifying 12 months ago to book her place in the first round proper of the women’s singles Championships.
But it would prove to be a fleeting appearance with fourth seed Sung Ji Hyun recording a straight sets win to dash Chapman’s hopes.
Since then Chapman has gone from strength to strength, including appearing at last year’s World Championships and finally lifting the English National title at the third time of asking earlier this month.
And with action getting underway on Tuesday March 8 at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena, Chapman is keen for another taste of top international badminton.
“I was really nervous going on court last year at the All England Championships, but as soon as I stepped on court I knew this was what I want to do and where I want to be in every tournament,” said Chapman, who grew up in Binley.
“Getting into the premier super series events and actually playing in front of a crowd all the time and having the crowd behind you is a very special feelings.
“Even when you’re in Indonesia at the World Championships, the crowd was supporting the girl I was playing and then they turned and started supporting me! Things like that are what it’s all about and it’s a really good feeling.
“Having Raj Ouseph [British number one male singles player] on the court next to me last year when he was doing really well was a little bit distracting. My coaches told me a few times to concentrate but it was a fantastic experience.”
Chapman is certainly sky high on confidence following her English Nationals win over Chloe Birch at the start of February.
And with the individual European Championships lying in wait after Birmingham, the 26-year-old has plenty to look forward to.
“That confidence boost that I’ve got from the nationals will hopefully carry on,” she added.
“The fact that they do come quite quickly is a good thing because you don’t have time to sit back and relax and let it go.
“I can carry that momentum for the All England Championships and then hopefully the Europeans.”
Watch the world’s best players at the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena from 8-13 March. For tickets visit allenglandbadminton.com.