Wimbledon 2013: Tough draw but Laura Robson's ready to face anything
Laura Robson was on a fast track to adulthood even before she won junior Wimbledon at the age of 14, but the British No 1 is having to fend for herself more than ever these days. Her parents, along with the dogs Robson had always missed when she was on the road, recently moved to Greece because of her father's work as an oil executive.
"My Mum came home last week and she did all my laundry, which was nice," Robson said. "And it was nice having someone else cook for me for a couple of nights. I love it when my Mum comes to tournaments, but she has a life as well. She generally doesn't want to come to random tournaments everywhere, but I think she enjoys spending time with me as well, I hope, and we always have a good time when she's on tour."
Robson admitted, however, that even from an early age she had had to grow up fast. "My Mum would be taking my brother to swimming and things like that," she said.
"I remember we had builders round our house when I was 10. I had got up myself because my Mum was already out with my brother. I packed all my stuff for the day and got in the taxi and off I went. I remember the builder said to my Mum: 'How old is she?' She said: 'Oh yeah, 10.' He had a 10-year-old daughter who couldn't even wake herself up in the morning. So I think it's just something I've always done."
Robson is still only 19, but already owns an Olympic silver medal, has played in a main tour final and has beaten three Grand Slam champions at Grand Slam tournaments in the last 10 months. Her ranking has leapt 60 places since last year's Wimbledon.
The world No 37 has not been afraid to take major career decisions. Last month she parted company with her coach, Zeljko Krajan, under whom she had made significant progress in the previous 10 months. Robson has since joined forces with Miles Maclagan, Andy Murray's former coach, for the grass-court season, after which she will reassess her options.
Robson said that spending so much time with Krajan had been difficult because they had so few shared interests. "He's Croatian, so it's like we just didn't watch any of the same TV," she said. "As minor as that sounds, it does make a bit of a difference.
"You're spending so much time together. Even when I'm at home we're still together most of the day, so you do have to bond over stuff and I think having mutual interests helps a lot.
"I think it's a lot easier to put up with all the travelling and being away from home for so long if you love what you do and you've got a good team around you and you enjoy their company. Then you're going to appreciate being at tournaments a bit more."
Maclagan, who shares a passion with Robson for watching golf, is clearly making an effort to get on the same wavelength as his new charge. "I'm obsessed with this website at the moment which is doing this treasure hunt where you have to find the item and on the item there's a code and then you win the item for £1," Robson said.
"I thought I found the item yesterday so I messaged Miles and he replied, saying: 'Oh my God that's like so totally awesome.' Which I think was very sarcastic, but I just find it very amusing. I snap-shotted the text on my phone because I found it so funny."
Robson begins her latest Wimbledon campaign tomorrow. The draw has not been kind to the Briton, who faces Maria Kirilenko, the world No 10. However, after beating Kim Clijsters and Li Na at last year's US Open and knocking Petra Kvitova out of this year's Australian Open, Robson will not be over-awed.
In her four previous senior appearances at the All England Club Robson has won just once, against Germany's Angelique Kerber, who is now the world No 7, two years ago. However, she has had tough draws. In 2009, on her senior debut, she lost to Daniela Hantuchova, then the world No 32. Jelena Jankovic, who was world No 3 at the time, beat her in the first round in 2010 and Maria Sharapova knocked her out in the second round in 2011.
Last year Robson lost in three tight sets to Francesca Schiavone, the former French Open champion, who took charge after a lengthy medical time-out. Many players use such time-outs as a way of breaking their opponents' rhythm, but Robson said she had no complaints.
"Maybe she just really needed treatment," Robson said. "You don't know how your opponent is in that situation, but you just have to take it how it is. I don't feel like it affected me a lot and generally it just gave her a bit of time to get her head together."
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