Robson's reward for a remarkable year is real test of her resolve

Teenager finds step up in training intensity tough after glory of her Olympic silver medal

The "Olympic shelf" in her bedroom, with her silver medal from London occupying pride of place, is a constant reminder of one of Laura Robson's greatest ambitions. "I've already got Rio in the back of my mind," the 18-year-old said yesterday when asked about her next targets. "I'm just a massive Olympics person. My main goal for the last few years was just to play in this year's Olympics. I got a silver medal out of that, so hopefully in Rio I can go one better."

Robson, who said an Olympic gold would be on a par with winning Wimbledon, has had a remarkable year, having beaten two Grand Slam champions at the US Open (Kim Clijsters and Li Na), becoming the first British woman to reach a singles final on the main tour for 22 years and climbing to No 53 in the world rankings. However, she chooses an Olympic defeat, on Centre Court against Maria Sharapova, as her most memorable moment.

"They had closed the roof so it was already super-loud inside," Robson recalled. "I sat down at a change of ends towards the end of the first set and everyone started chanting: 'Laura!' I had goosebumps. I was getting super- emotional because it was the coolest thing ever. That made the whole year for me."

Robson took the silver medal that she won in the mixed doubles alongside Andy Murray to show a local brownie pack but said the girls had been more interested in her Olympic pins. The medal generally stays at home "because I feel a bit self-conscious wearing it around my neck". Robson confessed that she had lost it momentarily the day after the Olympic final, having left it in a buggy as she was transported between TV studios.

Had playing with Murray been intimidating? "No, it was a lot of fun," she said. "He's very encouraging. I always felt really bad if I missed a shot and he was like: 'No, it doesn't matter.' Then as soon as he missed a shot, he was like: 'Oh, I can't believe it!' He was very good to play with."

It was 8.30am when Robson sat down to talk at the National Tennis Centre at Roehampton yesterday, but this was a comparatively late start. With her first tournament of 2013, at Shenzhen in China, only a month and a half away and the Australian Open beginning in the middle of January, she is in the middle of a six-week training block which is more intensive than anything she has experienced before.

Robson has been working with her coach, Zeljko Krajan, who has brought in two more Croats as her fitness trainer and hitting partner. They will travel to Florida on Sunday to finish her winter training programme.

"It's been really tough so far and there's another month to go," Robson said. "I usually start at 7.45 or eight. I warm up until nine, then it's tennis from nine till 11, fitness from 11 to 12.30, warm up again at three, then tennis from 3.30 to 5.30.

"Then after tennis I'll either have another gym session or do recovery stuff. I've been doing ice baths every day – unfortunately. They're long days. I've been getting home very tired."

Robson, who is in bed by 9pm most nights, might have made even quicker progress in her career but for a succession of injuries – many associated with growing pains – in the years after her 2008 Wimbledon junior win. It was no coincidence that her impressive form this year coincided with her first injury-free spell of any length.

"Last year I went into the Australian Open with virtually no practice because I was on crutches until two or three weeks before," she explained. "This is basically the first full training block I will have done, because most of the time I've been injured at this time. By Australia I'm hoping to be super-fit."

Heather Watson, who reclaimed the British No 1 ranking from Robson with her triumph in the Japan Open in Osaka last month, has also been training at Roehampton. Robson said they remained friends as well as rivals. "I hope it stays the same and we always have a good time together," Robson said. "We're both competitive people. We always want do well, but we want each other to do well and if we both push on next year then that will be a really good thing."

Robson's rap: How Laura became an internet sensation

Laura Robson used her spare time while in Beijing last month to make a dance video which became an internet hit. Robson, with Heather Watson and Canadian Genie Bouchard, recorded her video of "Gangnam Style" by rapper Psy. It was edited by Robson and filmed at various Beijing locations. "The song was so popular at the time," Robson said. "We knew the dance, but we're not very good dancers..."

For the full video, go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gGfIwM38xI

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

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.

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones