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Laura Robson: I have a long way to go

Laura Robson speaks to the media
by Dan Imhoff
Saturday 22 June 2013

If Maria Sharapova’s assertion is anything to go by, top British hope Laura Robson is well on the road to the top.

The four-time Grand Slam champion said on Saturday she saw no reason the 19-year-old would not go on to crack the top 5, with No.1 in the rankings, even, a realistic goal.

Robson, though, was keeping her progress in check, downplaying the praise days out from her fifth main draw appearance at Wimbledon.

“I'm not thinking too far ahead at the moment. You know, I'm still ranked 37 or something like that, so I've still got a long way to go, a lot of things that I need to improve,” she said.

Last time Robson stood before an adoring crowd on these grounds she had a hefty piece of silver dangling from her neck and the Centre Court stands awash with Union Jacks.

That was after the then-18-year-old and Andy Murray had played the Olympic Mixed Doubles final of 2012.

Her face beaming, the loss mattered little. She was an Olympic medallist on home turf, a moment few athletes have the opportunity to savour.

The Brit hopes to again channel that home support when she meets Russia’s newest top-tenner, Maria Kirilenko, in the first round at this year’s Championships.

“The Olympics last year was like the best crowd any of the Brits has ever had. Yeah, it would be great if they brought that kind of atmosphere on Tuesday,” she said.

“Everyone was obviously very patriotic at the time. There was a group of people that sang the national anthem at my first match. I don't think that's going to be happening on Tuesday.”

Having recently appointed Murray’s former coach, Miles Maclagan, Robson is wary of predicting any drastic improvements in a hurry.

It is, after all, a temporary arrangement.

“Well, it’s only been just over a week. We’re still getting to know each other,” she said. “But yeah, we’re getting on well. I think so far ... the tennis side of things is going pretty well. My serve is looking a little bit better.”

With her mum returning to Greece after travelling with her last week, Robson said her dad was due to arrive on Saturday night, in time to support her Wimbledon campaign.

She will be careful not to remind him about the result of a rugby union match played in his native Australia earlier in the day, in which the Wallabies narrowly went down to the British and Irish Lions.

“My mum doesn’t watch rugby at all. My dad would have been glued to the TV this morning, as was my brother,” she said.

“I don’t know who won ... Oh, Lions? OK, no, that’s good. My dad won’t be overly happy.”

Seeing his daughter upset the Russian 10th seed on Tuesday would go a long way to easing his disappointment.

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