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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future