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Bloomfield Ready For Next Challenge After Breakthrough Week

Newport, U.S.A.

Richard Bloomfield© Kathryn OlsonRichard Bloomfield has finished a singles runner-up at two ATP Challenger Tour events during his career.

British No. 12 Richard Bloomfield arrived at the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport without any grass-court shoes and did not expect to progress beyond the qualifying competition.

At World No. 552 and a 1-10 career record, he became the third-lowest ranked ATP World Tour semi-finalist since 2000. It was his first ATP World Tour tournament since February 2009 at the Open 13 in Marseille.

Bloomfield, who was beaten by American Mardy Fish 7-6(5) 6-4, will climb to around No. 292 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings on Monday.

Fish Ends Bloomfield's Run In Newport

“Making my first ATP World Tour semi-final is unbelievable for me,” admitted the Norfolk-based right-hander. “Only a few months ago I had injections on my back. I felt I just needed to get back into playing again.”

He is the first Briton – other than Tim Henman, Andy Murray and Greg Rusedski – to reach an ATP World Tour semi-final since Martin Lee advanced to the 2001 Newport final.

Bloomfield, a former World No. 176 (5 March 2007), has battled to overcome a back injury for the past 16 months.

“It was around April last year,” the 27 year old said. “I landed funny and continued to practise with the injury, but each time the pain got worse when I sat down and walked about.

“I didn’t know what it was at first, but it got diagnosed as a slipped disc so I had an injection and it helped to the end of last year.

“At the start of this year it gave me more problems. I was going to have an operation, but my doctor said I’d be out for a year so it was a tough decision.”

Bloomfield has been coached by Pete Russell since he was 17. "I think sometimes changing coaches is not the right answer," he said. "You have to take responsibility for yourself. We have been good together, we’re working hard and hopefully we’ll get better.

“I hope my back will be okay to keep playing. This tournament is unlike the rest of the weeks, where the ball bounces quite high and it is tough with my game.

“Hopefully with my ranking I’ll be able to get into the US Open qualifying, which I haven’t played for a few years now.”

Bloomfield will next take part in an ATP Challenger Tour event in Aptos and hopes “to stay around for some ATP World Tour hard-court qualifying tournaments.”

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