Robson is remaining patient

Published: Saturday 27th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Laura Robson had the world at her feet two years ago but finds herself back at square one and has warned Wimbledon watchers to temper their expectations as she returns to action.

Two years ago, Robson reached the fourth round and soared to a career-high world ranking of 27th, looking well capable of climbing even higher.

But severe wrist trouble struck, and after one comeback was aborted the 21-year-old has waited for the right time to hit the courts again.

She is convinced that moment has arrived. Robson will find it tough going at Wimbledon, where she starts against Russian Evgeniya Rodina, but the beauty of the situation is her acceptance of that fact.

“I know how well I’ve played and practised. But obviously it doesn’t always translate to matches, as you must know,” Robson said.

“My coach, my trainer, we’re all very patient. If I don’t play well, then it’s not the end of the world, because we all learn in tennis that there’s always next week. I’m injury free, I think that’s the main thing.

“If it doesn’t work out after this tournament, I’m going to go play some challengers in America. It’s going to take a while.”

Those events fall below WTA tour level, with Robson essentially going back to the drawing board to re-sketch her career.

She missed Wimbledon last year and had been absent from the tour for almost 18 months before winning just one game in a qualifier at Eastbourne last week.

That is the form she is carrying into Wimbledon. Come the US Open in the summer, it could be a different story.

“To be honest, I would have preferred to start at smaller tournaments than this. I think I’m pretty realistic that my level is not at the point where it was before I was injured,” Robson said.

The 2008 Wimbledon girls’ champion added: ” I don’t think anything is worse for an athlete than doing over a year of rehab. So even though last week I got absolutely pummelled, getting pummelled is better than not playing anything at all.

“I’ve got another month, couple of months, maybe even longer, before I’m completely back to normal in my tennis.”

Robson explained how a little puppy love and country crooning has seen her through the sharp pain of being absent from tour.

She moved to Florida last October, and has managed to fill her time.

“I got a cat – Waffles. She lives with my parents in Greece now,” Robson said.

“In Bradenton in Florida, there’s a puppy store near where I live, they know me by name in there because I go so often. So, a lot of puppies, a lot of country music.”

Country music can be maudlin, but Robson has found a particular brand that appeals to her sensibility.

“I don’t know if you’ve been reading up on the country music scene,” she said. “There’s this thing called Bro-country, which is really about having a great time. There’s no substance to the lyrics, but they’re catchy.”

Robson’s absence from the tour has seen Heather Watson go almost unchallenged as British number one. They were pushing each other on to greater heights before Robson was forced to take time out.

Watson said: “I’m glad she’s back and fit and healthy. I think last week for her was great to be back on the court finishing a whole match.

“I really am glad she’s back on tour. She’s not just a great player, but she’s also a really good person off the court. I don’t think she would want to miss another Wimbledon.”

Watson has been handed a difficult draw, with France’s Carolina Garcia – a player once tipped as a future world number one by Andy Murray – first up. Should she battle through to round three, Serena Williams is likely to be waiting.

While Watson began the year with a title in Hobart, there have been plenty of disappointments since.

“I’ve definitely had some highs and lows,” she said. “But the highs have been quite high. I am really feeding off of that. I feel very, very good about my game.”

Published: Saturday 27th June 2015 by The News Editor

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