Janes wins but loses Wimbledon chance

In her moment of victory here yesterday - a victory which, heady to relate, puts her one match away from a meeting with Jennifer Capriati - Britain's Amanda Janes flashed a radiant smile towards her watching mother.

In her former tennis-playing life as Christine Truman, Mrs Janes was a leading British player for more than a decade, reaching the 1961 Wimbledon final before losing to her fellow Brit Angela Mortimer.

But her joy at her daughter's unexpected progress at the Hastings Direct International Championships since winning the opening qualifier against the world ranked No 27, Spain's Magui Cerno, was tempered by the fact that Amanda had just become a victim of her own success.

By extending her stay at the seaside she misses the start of qualifying at Roehampton today for the tournament which her mother might once have won had she not been hampered by injury.

At 25, Janes Jnr, who detoured from her tennis career four years ago to read English at Cambridge, has never played at Wimbledon. "It's her dream, of course,'' said her mother, wistfully. "We have to be thankful for what she has done here. It will be fantastic for her ranking. But it is a little bit of a blow that she loses her chance of reaching Wimbledon for the first time. As far as I know, there is no way round it.''

Unfortunately for Janes, all eight wild cards for British women players in SW19 this summer have already been issued. What a pity for Wimbledon. Tall and huskily spoken, the image of her blonde-haired mother, with a left-handed serve-and-volley grass court game that she believes is coming together beautifully, Amanda Janes could have been created for the tournament.

Having been drawn against the top-seeded qualifier last Saturday, she arrived with her mother in the expectation of an early return to the family home in Suffolk. "I told my husband we'd go to Tesco's on the way back,'' said Mrs Janes. Mr Janes's tummy is now likely to be rumbling severely.

Following the 7-6, 6-3 win over Cerna, Mrs Janes and her daughter had two pressing tasks - firstly to check back into their hotel and secondly to make urgent laundry arrangements. Both had travelled down with just one outfit each. Further wins against two US opponents - Ansley Cargill and a 6-0, 5-7, 6-3 triumph over Samantha Reeves yesterday - meant having to check back into their hotel on two more occasions. Last night, however, both were due to be re-housed in The Grand.

Janes now faces the US opponent with whom she has been practising this week, Amy Frazier, for the honour of meeting Capriati, the multiple Grand Slam event winner.

Asked how it would feel to get back into such company, she replied with a disarming laugh: "I don't think I've been in that kind of company. I used to be 290 in the rankings, and my goals since I came back have been to better that and to play at Wimbledon. So I think I'm getting near to both.'' Sadly, however, only the one looks attainable this summer.