Robson shows the maturity to take giant leap in her stride

Next week the British 15-year-old will be the youngest Wimbledon competitor since 1995 – not that it looks likely to unsettle her

Calderstones Park in Liverpool is about 200 miles from Wimbledon, but when Laura Robson arrives at the All England Club next week it will feel like she has crossed a solar system. Robson has been one of the main attractions at this week's Liverpool International exhibition event, but national and international interest will rocket to another level when the 15-year-old makes her senior debut at Wimbledon.

Robson proved with her victory last summer at junior Wimbledon, where she won the final on a packed No 1 Court, that she has the mental strength to take fame in her stride. The All England Club last week awarded her a wild card into the main field in both singles and doubles, in which she will partner her fellow Briton, Georgie Stoop. The draw will be made at Wimbledon today, with Robson's name going into the hat alongside those of players like the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic.

For most of this week Robson has been trying to keep a low profile, with her advertised appearance at a press conference in Liverpool cancelled because of "training and education requirements". Her first opponent at Calderstones Park yesterday was Chloe Murphy, a local girl who does not even have an International Tennis Federation junior ranking. Robson won their first-to-eight-games set 8-6 but often struggled in the tricky conditions. With Murphy attacking and finding a good rhythm on her serve, Robson made a number of errors on her ground strokes.

"It was freezing out there," Robson said. "She played really aggressively, which was hard for me. I thought I served well and that's what got me through in the end."

Robson, who beat Britain's Emily Askew 8-1 in her second match yesterday, was the first home player to win junior Wimbledon since Annabel Croft in 1984 and will become the youngest Briton to play at the All England Club in the Open era. At 15 years and five months she will be the youngest from any country since Martina Hingis in 1995. Indeed only 10 younger girls have played at Wimbledon in modern times, among them Tracy Austin, Jennifer Capriati and Andrea Jaeger.

Martina Navratilova, nine times a Wimbledon champion, is among those who have been impressed by Robson's progress. Speaking at the launch of the HSBC Champions of Wimbledon website, Navratilova said: "She has a really nice game. She's a really bright kid and she seems to have a good group of people around her.

"They need to keep everything in perspective for her. She just needs to stay on course, have a well-balanced life. There will be huge hype at Wimbledon, but it's just another tennis match and she should just take it as a stepping stone.

"She plays pretty aggressively from the baseline. I'd like to see her come to the net, because I think that can pay off, especially on the grass."

Robson made her debut in senior competition at the end of last year, but has played only junior tournaments in 2009. She has focused this year on her education and took advantage of her second-round defeat at the French Open earlier this month to return home to take two GCSE exams.

After an injury scare – which proved to be nothing more than growing pains – she took three months out of competition after losing in the final of the Australian Open juniors. She returned to action last month on clay and has played two exhibition events, at Nottingham and Liverpool, since reverting to grass.

Suggested Topics
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence