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Robson targets SW19 seeding as she claims Williams scalp

Laura Robson with Venus Williams in Rome
by Alexandra Willis in Rome
Tuesday 14 May 2013

The British teen will play Serena Williams in Rome after defeating her older sister, and revealed that she has plenty more to look forward to...

Laura Robson has found her second-favourite city. It's Rome. 

"Everything is so beautiful," the British teen said, revealing that she's been on the sight-seeing trail at every spare opportunity, with the Sistine Chapel still on her to do list. 

But Robson is in high spirits for other reasons beyond being surrounded by Roman architecture. Her first round match in the Italian capital saw her defeat her fourth Grand Slam singles champion as she withstood swirling winds on the Foro Italico's Campo Centrale to beat Venus Williams 6-3, 6-2. Williams, battling both a chronic back injury, the debilitating Sjrogen's syndrome, and her 32 years of age, was far below her best, but it was still an impressive display from Robson on her weakest surface. 

"I was pumped," she said about facing such a formidable opponent. "I was jumping around, I had so much energy, I was so excited."

"I said when I was 14 that I wanted to play Venus, so I got my wish," Robson said, reminiscing about an interview she did with the BBC after winning junior Wimbledon in 2008. Asked how she would feel if she was invited back the following year as a wild card into the main draw, and what it would be like to take on someone like Venus Williams, 14-year-old Robson said cheekily, "I'll take her dowwwwn."

"My mum sent it to me when the draw came out to remind me," Robson laughed. "As if I could forget saying something so stupid."

Robson has never had a problem with conveying her character, her press conferences always a study in self-deprecating quips, but with two credible wins on her racket in recent weeks - Radwanska in Madrid last week, and Venus in Rome this week, as well as a very close encounter with Ana Ivanovic, she admits she is truly happy to be out there. 

Next up is the ultimate challenge, Serena Williams, another multi-Grand Slam champion and the world No.1

"It will be a good test," Robson said. "She’s playing pretty much the best tennis of her life right now and she’s not losing at all.

"I like it out there on big courts, against these big players. I've got nothing to lose."

Should she win, she will be the first player to beat the sisters in the same tournament since Jelena Jankovic here in Rome in 2010.

Robson also spoke about her recent split with coach Zelkjo Krajan, with whom she parted company in Madrid. 

"We didn't have enough in common," the teen said frankly. "You need to get on with your coach on and off the court. We didn't click."

Being helped by Sven Groenefeld's Team Adidas and the LTA's Lucie Ahl until she begins the search for a new coach, which she revealed would likely be after Wimbledon, Robson said her focus now is on raising her ranking further so that she is seeded for Wimbledon.

"I said at the start of the year that I wanted to be seeded for Wimbledon. If it happens it's great."

Robson would be the first to admit that there have been some bumps and dips along the way, and she still has plenty of improving to do. But it's worth remembering that last year she entered the Roland Garros main draw as a lucky loser. This year, she could well be seeded. Not bad for a 19-year-old.


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