Laura Robson addition ensures strong Team GB presence in Olympic tennis tournament

 

Less than two
months after the Lawn Tennis Association was left wondering whether the Olympic
tournament would feature any British women at all, Laura Robson was handed a
place in the singles competition today to bring the home contingent up to
the maximum entry of four.

Robson, who was admitted as the next highest-ranked player following the withdrawal through injury of Croatia’s Petra Martic, joins Heather Watson, Anne Keothavong and Elena Baltacha in the 64-strong women’s singles field as the tournament gets under way at the All England Club tomorrow morning.

On last month’s cut-off date for entries there were no British women with a high enough ranking to go straight into the competition, but Keothavong and Baltacha were subsequently given wild cards and Watson and Robson have benefited from withdrawals and from their own progress up the world rankings.

Watson, 20, who won the US Open junior title two years ago, became the first British woman for 10 years to reach the third round at Wimbledon this summer and has just climbed to a career-high No 67 in the world rankings, making her the highest-ranked home player. Robson, the 2008 junior Wimbledon champion, also broke into the world’s top 100 for the first time last month and recently reached the semi-finals of a Women’s Tennis Association clay-court event in Palermo, beating two top 50 players.

Robson and Watson will play their first-round matches on Monday, against the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova and Spain’s Silvia Soler Espinosa respectively, but the young Britons face Germany’s Sabine Lisicki and Angelique Kerber in their opening doubles match tomorrow. Keothavong will contest the final singles match of the first day on Centre Court against Caroline Wozniacki, the world No 8, while Baltacha is scheduled to play the third match on Court 18 against Hungary’s Agnes Szavay, who does not even have a world ranking after playing only one match in the last year because of a back problem.

The honour of opening the tournament on Centre Court goes to the Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych and Belgium’s Steve Darcis, who will be followed by the two singles champions from Wimbledon three weeks ago. Serena Williams has a tricky opener against Jelena Jankovic, while Roger Federer will not be able to afford the same slow start against Alejandro Falla as he made against the Colombian in the first round at Wimbledon two years ago. If he loses the first two sets this time the world No 1 will be out of the tournament as all the matches are played over the best of three sets.

Andy Murray, the only Briton in the men’s singles, faces Stanislas Wawrinka in his opening match on Sunday. Tomorrow the world No 4 teams up with his brother, Jamie, in a doubles match against the Austrians Jurgen Melzer and Alexander Peya in the final encounter of the afternoon on Court Two. Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins, Britain’s first-choice Davis Cup pair, have an even tougher opening task on Court 14 against the Frenchmen Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau.

While the British team decided that none of the home contingent should go to tonight’s opening ceremony because of their commitments on court today, many players from other countries are expected to attend. They included Novak Djokovic, Wawrinka, Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska, who were all among those lined up for national flag-carrying duties.

Baltacha, however, has no complaints. “We're all playing tomorrow so that's fine,” she said. “We're here to compete. It would have been really nice to go, but we're here for a reason and that has to come first. If we were to go we wouldn't be back until late and that's not the best preparation. It is a shame but we can watch it on TV. That's what I'll be doing with my mum.”

Kim Clijsters, who will retire after the US Open, will be competing in the Olympics for the first time when she meets Italy’s Roberta Vinci in tomorrow’s first match on Court Two. Speaking at a press conference at Wimbledon alongside her fellow Belgian players, Clijsters said: “You kind of feel like you're going on a school trip. We took the train and we were all dressed the same and had our backpacks on. It was fun and it's exciting after being on tour for 15 years to have a new experience."

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music

Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin married in Venice yesterday
peopleAmal and George Clooney 'planning third celebration in England'
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley at the premiere of Laggie at Toronto Film Festival 2014
theatreActress 'to make Broadway debut'
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker