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.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Suggested Topics
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.

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy