Laura Robson takes inspiration from darts


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The Independent Online

Laura Robson is taking inspiration from an unlikely source as she prepares to play her part in Britain's Fed Cup campaign in Israel this week - darts.

The 18-year-old and Fed Cup captain Judy Murray are both big fans of the sport and Robson believes darts and tennis are not as different as they may appear.

"I always watch darts on TV," she said. "I don't have a favourite player, I just like watching. I know this sounds a bit mean but I like watching when they choke. It sounds horrible but it just makes it that more exciting.

"I find it amazing the amount of pressure they're under to make exactly the right shot at the right time. You can see that they start to shake sometimes. Hopefully we don't do that when we're playing. I try not to anyway. You can learn a lot from a darts player."

Tennis is renowned as one of the most mentally demanding sports, and it is an area Robson is keen to improve on, the teenager saying: "I think it is something that comes with experience.

"You get better at it over the years. I know I've had some horrible matches in the last few years when I've been leading and then lost it and then struggled to regain my concentration. But it's definitely something that's improving. You can always get better at it."

Robson is part of a four-strong Fed Cup team named by Murray for her first outing in the competition in this week's Europe/Africa Zone Group I matches in Eilat.

Experienced top-100 players Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong will be supported by teenagers Heather Watson and Robson as Britain take on Portugal, Holland and Israel over the next three days, with the possibility of a promotion play-off on Saturday if they win their group.

Tucked in Robson's luggage along with racquets and tennis gear was a dartboard, but the teenager admitted her talents on the oche do not match those on the court.

She added: "I'm terrible, really, really quite shocking, but I like watching it and hopefully this week I can improve on it. I've never hit a 180."

The role is a new venture for Murray, who was previously head coach for Scotland and has worked mostly with male players in the past, including scouting out opponents for son Andy, the world number four.

As captain, Murray will be courtside offering support and advice to her players, and she is optimistic it will be a position that plays to her strengths.

She said: "The last thing I'm sure they all want is me prattling on to them, filling their head with too many things. You just need to be very specific and give them reassurance and confidence.

"I have absolutely no idea how good I'm going to be but I am good at analysing matches. I do read tennis well and I'll rely on the girls to tell me how they'd like feedback."