Laura Robson: Will finding the right shower cubicle help Britain's female number one at Wimbledon this week?

 

My first tennis competitor was my brother He's two years older than me, and as he was always that bit better, I would lose, and sulk for the rest of the day. It's the reason I kept playing – I needed to beat him. I was 11 when I started winning, and it was worth the wait. I was just more competitive and took training more seriously than he did. Now that he doesn't play tennis any more we have a much better relationship.

I'm not a grunter When I was younger I was very self-conscious about making a noise when hitting the ball, so I never wanted to do that. But I don't have a problem with other woman who grunt when I'm playing against them; I don't even hear it any more as I'm concentrating so hard. But grunting is all you can hear on television because during a tennis tournament the microphones at the back of the court pick it up, so it sounds louder to viewers watching at home, which is unfortunate.

Becoming the top-ranked female player in Britain was a big moment Though the transition from junior to elite was tough. I had to go and play in small tournaments around the world, in the middle of nowhere, just to get my ranking up. Minsk, in Belarus, wasn't my favourite place. It was cold and depressing, and the hotel wasn't great, so you really have to love what you do. But once I'd done well in those kind of tournaments, I started to go and play in places such as Tokyo, which is now one of my favourite cities. I still find the hotel toilets confusing though: they have eight different buttons and I'm still not sure what they all do.

I try not to be superstitious My mum is really superstitious, and when she'd take me to the under-12 tennis tournaments, she would make me wear the same clothes every day, for good luck. I've since tried to be the complete opposite. But during recent tournaments I've found myself doing little things; for example, after a first-round win, I make sure that I shower in the same cubicle before each subsequent match.

I've picked up a lot playing Serena Williams I beat Venus [currently ranked at 34 in the world – Robson is ranked 35] at the Italian Open this year, but I lost to Serena [currently ranked number one] in the next round. She's the one to watch at Wimbledon, as she's playing some of the best tennis of her career. Some of that is down to how hard she hits the ball, but people don't realise what a great mover she is, too.

I want to get young kids into sport and encourage them to stick with it As the junior tennis ambassador for Virgin Active Health Clubs, I went round to a school last week to show the kids there how to hit the ball, and I took along these new Wilson racquets which tell you how fast you've hit it. The kids loved it. One boy, who was 16, could hit it even harder than me. I was a bit disappointed, but guys can hit harder and he did play several times a week.

I felt rejuvenated by cryotherapy I tried it for the first time last week. You walk into these super-cold cryo-chambers: one at -50°C, for 30 seconds, and another at -120 °C, for two minutes. You don't notice the cold for the first 15 seconds but then it starts to bite and you come out feeling frozen. I slept so well that night, though, and I felt unbelievable the next day. The British Lions guys do it three times a day while training.

Laura Robson, 19, is the number-one ranked female tennis player in Britain and is currently the Junior Tennis Ambassador for Virgin Active Health Clubs, which will be opening up 20 of its Health and Racquet clubs to the general public for free tennis sessions during Wimbledon

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