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Naomi Kathleen Cavaday (born 24 April 1989) is a British former professional tennis player from Sidcup, Kent. She retired in April 2011 to take up a coaching role with the Lawn Tennis Association.[1] At the time of her retirement she was the British no. 6, with a world ranking of world no. 231. Her career high ranking was No. 174, achieved in May 2010. She won three ITF singles titles and two ITF doubles titles.[2] Her coach at retirement was Rob Smith. She was formerly coached by David Felgate, the long-time coach of Tim Henman.[3]

Naomi Cavaday
Cavaday WMQ15 (3) (19764294938).jpg
Country (sports)United Kingdom Great Britain
ResidenceChislehurst, Kent
Born (1989-04-24) 24 April 1989 (age 30)
Sidcup, Kent
Height1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Turned pro2005
Retired2011-2014, 2015
PlaysLeft-handed (two-handed backhand)
Prize moneyUS$191,742
Career record163–102
Career titles0 WTA, 6 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 174 (10 May 2010)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenQ2 (2010)
French OpenQ1 (2008)
Wimbledon1R (2006, 2007, 2008)
US OpenQ3 (2007)
Career record44–51
Career titles0 WTA, 2 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 184 (5 April 2010)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Wimbledon1R (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
Last updated on: 5 May 2017.

In 2014, Cavaday returned to professional tennis, regained a world ranking, and won three additional ITF titles. She retired again in 2015 and has since worked as a coach and as a commentator for BBC Radio Five Live's Wimbledon coverage.

Personal lifeEdit

Cavaday was born in Kent. Her mother is a sport psychologist and her brother has played tennis at county level and in America for North Carolina State University. Up to the age of 13 years Cavaday studied at Bromley High School before getting a tennis scholarship to Queenswood School in Hertfordshire. She has also studied at the highly prestigious Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. Cavaday took a course in journalism and creative writing and expressed an interest in becoming a sports journalist when her tennis career was over.[3][4] She appeared as a guest on the Al Jazeera English programme The Stream in July 2015, as part of a discussion on issues of female body image and its impact on sportswomen regarding their physiques.[5]

Cavaday became an ambassador for Beat, the eating disorder charity, in 2011[6] and as of 2016 is a mental health ambassador for the LTA.[7]


Junior (2004–2007)Edit

Cavaday competed on the junior ITF tour from May 2004 to July 2007. She was a quarterfinalist at a total of nine tournaments, one of which was the 2006 Wimbledon girls' championships where she lost to Urszula Radwańska, 3–6, 2–6. She reached the semifinals of the ITF Junior Cup Copenhagen, Danish ITF Junior Tournament and the Optus Nottinghill International and was a finalist in the Malta ITF Junior Tournament, Safina Cup, French Riviera International Junior Open and the Tournoi International Juniors de Beaulieu sur Mer. She won one junior singles title at the Istres International Junior Tournament in April 2006 where she also won her only junior doubles title in the same year. Her best result at the Australian Open Girls' junior tournament was a first round defeat at the hands of Alizé Cornet, 1–6, 6–7(5), in 2007. She participated in the French Open and U.S. Open junior Grand Slams only once, losing in the second round of qualifying for the French and the second round of the main draw of the U.S. Open where she lost Tamira Paszek, 6–4, 4–6, 0–6.[8]

Her career-high junior combined ranking was world No. 23 (achieved 19 March 2007) and her win-loss records for her junior career were 55–21 in singles and 28–19 in doubles.[8]


Cavaday made her debut on the ITF tour in January 2005 and in only the fourth professional tournament of her career she qualified and beat Isha Lakhani, 6–4, 6–1, in the final to win the event. Nevertheless, she finished 2005 without a world ranking.[9]

In January 2006 Cavaday qualified for and reached the semifinal of the Tipton $10,000 event and at the start of February she competed in her first ever $25,000 ITF event in Jersey where she was beaten, 4–6, 1–6, by Anne Keothavong in round one. One month later, Cavaday qualified for Sunderland $10,000 and reached the final where she was defeated by Gaëlle Widmer in three sets, 1–6, 6–3, 1–6. This was immediately followed by a quarterfinal appearance in the $10,000 ITF in Sheffield and a semifinal appearance in another $10,000 event, this one in Bath, where she lost to up-and-comer Urszula Radwańska, 6–7(1), 3–6. In her very next tournament she yet again lost in the semifinal before receiving a wild card into the tier III DFS Classic qualifying draw in Birmingham, England. She won one tough three set match against Tatiana Poutchek, 7–6(5), 3–6, 7–6(6), before losing another to Hungarian Melinda Czink, 6–3, 5–7, 5–7. This was followed by Cavaday's first ever Grand Slam main draw appearance, courtesy of a wild card into home Grand Slam Wimbledon. She played Japanese veteran Ai Sugiyama and lost 4–6, 5–7.[10] During September and October, Cavaday played in one $10,000 ITF tournament (where she lost in the quarterfinal) and three $25,000 ITF tournaments where she reached the semifinals, quarterfinals and second round. She rounded off her 2006 season in Australia with three more $25,000 ITF tournaments in Mount Gambier, Port Pirie and Nurioopta where she reached the quarterfinal of the first tournament and the first round of the other two. Her year-end ranking of 2006 was world No.401.[9]


During January and February of 2007, Cavaday competed in two $25,000 ITF events in Great Britain and reached the quarterfinals of one of them. She then headed to the USA in March where she won eight consecutive matches to qualify for and win the $25,000 ITF in Orange, California. In April she reached the quarterfinal stage in another $25,000 tournament, this one in Jackson, Mississippi. She reached the semifinal of Palm Beach $25,000 in May before heading back to England and playing in the main draw of the tier III DFS Classic courtesy of a wild card where she beat Vasilisa Bardina, 6–2, 6–1, in round one.[11] She was then demolished by Marion Bartoli, 3–6, 1–6, in the second round.[12] She was immediately given a wild card into the qualifying draw of the International Women's Open, a tier II tournament held in Eastbourne, England. She was beaten in a tight two set match by Youlia Fedossova, 6–7(2), 6–7(4), in the first round. A third consecutive wild card allowed Cavaday entry into the main draw of Wimbledon for the second year running where she was drawn to face a resurgent former multiple Grand Slam champion in the form of Martina Hingis on Court 2, the "Graveyard of Champions". The court almost held true to its name when Cavaday had match points in the second set but failed to convert them, eventually losing 7–6(1), 5–7, 0–6.[13]

After Wimbledon, Cavaday played one more tournament on grass, the $25,000 Felixstowe (where she reached the quarterfinal), before heading to the USA in preparation for the U.S. Open qualifying tournament. She was given a wild card into the qualifying draw for the tier II event Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven where she fell just short of qualifying, losing to Tatiana Poutchek in three sets in the final round. She then headed to the U.S. Open qualifying for the first time in her career where she also lost in the final round of qualifying in three sets, this time to German, Sandra Klösel. After this, her ranking was high enough to enter her into qualifying for the tier III Sunfeast Open on merit. She won two matches to qualify before falling in the first round to Ekaterina Ivanova, 3–6, 6–2, 2–6.[14] This was then followed immediately by Cavaday attempting to qualify for the tier IV Hansol Korea Open Tennis Championships but again losing one match short of qualifying for the main draw. At the end of the 2007 season, she played four more $25,000 ITF events (reaching the quarterfinal of one, the semifinal of another and round two in the other two). She then attempted to qualify for the ASB Classic, a tier IV event in Auckland, where she lost to Ahsha Rolle in the final round, 2–6, 2–6. Her year-end ranking was world No.196.[9]


From the start of 2008 until the French Open, Cavaday competed primarily in $50,000 and $75,000 ITF events. She reached the semifinal of New Delhi $50,000 (losing to Yanina Wickmayer in straight sets, 1–6, 3–6) and the quarterfinals of Patras $50,000 and Monzon $75,000. In May she competed in the qualifying tournament of the French Open for the first time in her career but lost, 3–6, 5–7, in the first round to Stefanie Vögele. In June she received another wild card into the tier III, DFS Classic where she dominated Jill Craybas with her tricky serve and impressive forehand in the first round to win 6–0, 6–4[15] before going on to lose in the second round to Indian Sunitha Rao, 6–4, 3–6, 1–6.[16] Compatriot Elena Baltacha then beat her in the opening round of qualifying for the tier II International Women's Open in Eastbourne in straight sets, 2–6, 4–6. Another wild card granted Cavaday access to the main draw of Wimbledon for the third year running where she was drawn to face defending champion and 12-time Grand Slam finalist, Venus Williams. She led Williams in the first set but eventually lost, 6–7(5), 1–6, in a match which led Williams to suggest that Cavaday could go far in the game with coaching from her father Richard Williams.[17]

Following Wimbledon, Cavaday hit a patch of bad form, winning only two of her next six matches including losing in round one of qualifying for the U.S. Open to Kristína Kučová, 6–1, 3–6, 1–6. Following this, Cavaday did not play any more matches in 2008 due to a viral infection which saw her unable to train properly for the next three months and struggling to climb flights of stairs. It was the first serious setback Cavaday had been faced with in her young career but she gradually recovered and began light training once again in November in preparation for the 2009 season. She said of the setback, "As an athlete it was very worrying".[18] Her worldwide ranking at the end of 2008 had fallen to No.268.[9]


In her first event since the 2008 US Open qualifying tournament, Cavaday entered Wrexham $10,000 in January as a wild card and the No. 2 seed. She reached the semifinal before being overcome by fifth seed Claudine Schaul from Luxembourg, 2–6, 0–6.[19] The very next week she reached the quarterfinal of the $25,000 tournament in Sutton before falling to compatriot Katie O'Brien, 1–6, 1–6.[20] She then entered the $25,000 ITF event in Stockholm where she was beaten by Tatjana Malek, 2–6, 1–6, in the semifinals.[21] At the 2009 WTA International Aegon Classic in Birmingham she received a wildcard, and overcame Julie Ditty and twelfth seed Tamarine Tanasugarn to reach the third round.

2014 – Return to professional tennisEdit

In 2014, Cavaday returned to professional tennis, receiving a wild card into the $50K grass court tournament in Nottingham, England. Further tournaments in England and in Egypt followed, and in September 2014, she won the first title of her comeback at a $10K tournament in Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt, defeating top seed Barbara Haas at the quarterfinal stage, and second seed Ana Veselinović in the final.[22] In consecutive weeks in October – November 2014, she won back-to-back $10K titles in Stockholm, Sweden.,[23][24] beating Tayisiya Morderger in the first week's final and Margarita Lazareva in the second final.


Cavaday was restricted by a wrist injury in the first half of the year and played only three matches. On 7 October 2015 she posted on her website that she would no longer be competing professionally.[25]

ITF finalsEdit

Singles: 8 (6–2)Edit

Finals by category
$100,000 tournaments
$75,000 tournaments
$50,000 tournaments
$25,000 tournaments
$10,000 tournaments
Finals by surface
Hard (5/2)
Clay (1/0)
Grass (0/0)
Carpet (0/0)
Result Date Category Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Winner 6 November 2005 ITF $10,000 Pune, India Hard   Isha Lakhani 6–4, 6–1
Runner–up 12 March 2006 ITF $10,000 Sunderland, Great Britain Hard   Gaëlle Widmer 1–6, 6–3, 1–6
Winner 18 March 2007 ITF $25,000 Orange, United States Hard   Karin Knapp 6–1, 6–1
Winner 3 May 2010 ITF $25,000 Brescia, Italy Clay   Andrea Hlaváčková 6–2, 6–4
Runner–up 14 September 2010 ITF $25,000 Darwin, Australia Hard   Olivia Rogowska 2–6, 6–2, 0–6
Winner 28 September 2014 ITF $10,000 Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt Hard   Ana Veselinovic 6–4, 6–4
Winner 26 October 2014 ITF $10,000 Stockholm, Sweden Hard (i)   Tayisiya Morderger 7–6(7–3), 6–4
Winner 2 November 2014 ITF $10,000 Stockholm, Sweden Hard (i)   Margarita Lazareva 5–7, 6–3, 6–3

Doubles: 6 (2–4)Edit

Finals by category
$100,000 tournaments
$75,000 tournaments
$50,000 tournaments
$25,000 tournaments
$10,000 tournaments
Finals by surface
Hard (1/2)
Clay (1/1)
Grass (0/1)
Carpet (0/0)
Result Date Tournament Surface Partnering Opponent Score
Runner–up 28 May 2006 Budapest, Hungary Clay   Georgie Gent   Antonia Xenia Tout
  Nataša Zorić
1–6, 2–6
Runner–up 23 September 2006 Nottingham, Great Britain Hard   Claire Peterzen   Georgie Gent
  Emily Webley-Smith
6–3, 5–7, 4–6
Runner–up 8 June 2007 Surbiton, Great Britain Grass   Elena Baltacha   Karen Paterson
  Melanie South
1–6, 4–6
Winner 3 March 2009 Johannesburg, South Africa Hard   Lesia Tsurenko   Kristína Kučová
  Anastasija Sevastova
6–2, 2–6, [11–9]
Runner–up 6 February 2010 Sutton, Great Britain Hard   Anna Smith   Irini Georgatou
  Valeria Savinykh
5–7, 6–2, [8–10]
Winner 3 May 2010 Brescia, Italy Clay   Anastasia Pivovarova   Iryna Brémond
  Valeria Savinykh
6–3, 6–7(5–7), [10–8]

Performance timelinesEdit

(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (Z#) Davis/Fed Cup Zonal Group (with number indication) or (PO) play-off; (G) gold, (F-S) silver or (SF-B) bronze Olympic medal; a (NMS) downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated at the conclusion of a tournament or when the player's participation has ended.


Tournament 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2014 2015 Career Win Loss
Australian Open A A A A Q2 A A A 0–0
French Open A A Q1 A Q1 A A A 0–0
Wimbledon 1R 1R 1R Q3 Q2 A A Q1 0–3
US Open A Q3 Q1 A Q1 A A A 0–0
Year-end ranking 401 196 268 203 213 670 606 502 N/A


Tournament 2007 2008 2009 2010 Career Win Loss
Australian Open A A A A 0–0
French Open A A A A 0–0
Wimbledon 1R 1R 1R 1R 0–4
US Open A A A A 0–0
Year-end ranking 425 748 246 277 N/A

Mixed doublesEdit

Tournament 2009 Career Win Loss
Australian Open A 0–0
French Open A 0–0
Wimbledon 1R 0–1
US Open A 0–0

Fed CupEdit

Europe/Africa Group I
Date Venue Surface Round Opponents Final match score Match Opponent Rubber score
19–21 April 2007 Plovdiv Clay RR   Luxembourg 1–2 Singles Mandy Minella 6–4, 6–7(2–7), 4–6 (L)
  Poland 0–3 Singles Agnieszka Radwańska 3–6, 2–6 (L)
  Sweden 1–2 Singles Johanna Larsson 2–6, 6–1, 1–6 (L)


  1. ^ "Briton Naomi Cavaday retires from tennis". BBC Sport. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  2. ^ LTA Profile
  3. ^ a b "Interview with Naomi Cavaday Monday, June 25, 2007".
  4. ^ "WIMBLEDON: N. Cavaday Interview – Day 10".
  5. ^ "Pretty strong: Redefining female beauty in sports". 27 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Naomi Cavaday: 'Now I can say what I want!'". The Guardian. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  7. ^ "'Waiting for someone to ask 'Are you OK?". BBC Sport. 10 October 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  8. ^ a b Junior ITF Profile
  9. ^ a b c d "Activity:CAVADAY, Naomi (GBR)".
  10. ^ Burnett, Mike (8 July 2006). "Cavaday hits back at Brit bashers". Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  11. ^ "Cavaday claims second-round spot". 12 June 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  12. ^ "Sania loses a close contest to Mara Santangelo". Chennai, India: 14 June 2007.
  13. ^ Viner, Brian (26 June 2007). "Cavaday hints at a brighter British future by taking Hingis to the wire". The Independent. London. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  14. ^ "Injury forces Sania out of Sunfeast Open".
  15. ^ Jago, Richard (10 June 2008). "Career-best win by Cavaday sums up British women's surge". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  16. ^ "Cavaday's Wimbledon preparations hit by defeat".
  17. ^ "Naomi Cavaday Wimbledon Interview – 2st [sic] Round".
  18. ^ "Cavaday on comeback trail after injury scare".
  19. ^ "$10,000 Wrexham 2009 – Main Draw Singles".
  20. ^ "$25,000 Sutton 2009 – Main Draw Singles".
  21. ^ "$25,000 Stockholm Singles Draw".
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Cavaday, Naomi (7 October 2015). "Life as a tennis player". Retrieved 9 May 2017.

External linksEdit