Laura Robson - Early Life and Junior Career

Early Life and Junior Career

Robson was born on 21 January 1994 in Melbourne, Australia, the third child of Australian parents Andrew, an oil executive with Royal Dutch Shell, and Kathy Robson, a sports coach and former professional basketball player. Robson and her family moved from Melbourne to Singapore when she was 18 months old, and then to the United Kingdom when she was six. According to her parents, she began playing tennis "as soon as she could hold a tennis racquet", and after being encouraged by them, she entered a junior tennis academy at age seven. She signed with management company Octagon when she was 10, with Adidas at age 11, and also signed a racquet deal with Wilson Sporting Goods. After working with several coaches, including the head of the Lawn Tennis Association, Carl Maes, she chose coach Martijn Bok in 2007. Bok said later that although Robson "had trouble staying emotionally under control", he "saw right away...a lot of potential in Laura." Robson also began training at the National Tennis Centre, under the guidance of Bok, Maes, and the head of women's tennis at the centre, Nigel Sears, while taking school lessons at home.

Robson's first tournament on the junior ITF tour was in May 2007, where she went from the qualifying draw of the tournament to the quarterfinals. She reached the final of two other tournaments in 2007, and won her first tournament in October. In the first half of 2008, Robson reached the finals of three tournaments, but was also eliminated before the third round in three straight tournaments.

Robson competed in her first junior grand slam at the Wimbledon girls' event, as an unseeded player. As the youngest player in the tournament, she beat first seed Melanie Oudin on her way to the finals, where she defeated third seed Noppawan Lertcheewakarn. Her victory made her the first British player to win the girls' event since Annabel Croft in 1984, and the British media described her as the "new darling" of British tennis, and the "Queen of Wimbledon". However, former British tennis players such as Croft and Virginia Wade said that "we have to be careful with the expectations we place on her", and that Robson needed to "build her confidence".

After a brief period on the main tour, Robson returned to junior competition but was knocked out in the second round of a tournament in December. In the same month she played her final junior tournament of 2008, the Orange Bowl, where she had to retire in the third round with a stomach strain. At the end of the year, she was shortlisted for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, but lost out to Paralympic swimmer Eleanor Simmonds.

After recovering from her injury, Robson entered the 2009 Australian Open junior tournament, where she was seeded fifth. In the semifinals she faced a replay of her Wimbledon final, against top seed Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, whom she beat in straight sets to reach her second Grand Slam junior final. Facing third seed Ksenia Pervak from Russia, Robson was defeated 6–3, 6–1. She later attributed her loss to Pervak's greater consistency, and her coach Bok said that "everybody has to be patient". After the tournament, Robson started to train with Gil Reyes, the former trainer of Andre Agassi. She was also named the MCC Young Sportswoman of the Year. She claimed the top ranking of ITF junior tour in April, despite not playing for two months because of shin splints. At the 2009 French Open

Robson was the top seed in the junior's competition, but was defeated in round two by Sandra Zaniewska. Robson, as the defending champion at 2009 Wimbledon Championships but she fell in the second round to Quirine Lemoine.

Due to her focusing on her Senior career, Robson entered the 2009 US Open unseeded. In the first round she beat Ons Jabeur of Tunisia. She then faced the 7th seed Lauren Embree of the United States and beat her in three sets. She went on to face the 12th seed, Tamaryn Hendler of Belgium, who she defeated in straight sets. Robson then beat Lauren Davis in the quarter–finals. In her semi–final she faced Yana Buchina of Russia. Due to rain delay, both quarter- and semi-finals were played on the same day, therefore the semi–final match followed the quarter–final match. Despite starting strongly, Robson tired, losing the match in three sets.

At the junior singles at the 2010 Australian Open, Robson was unseeded and defeated Belinda Woolcock, Yulia Putintseva, and Cristina Dinu to reach the quarterfinals. In the last eight she easily overcame American Ester Goldfeld to move through to her fourth Junior Grand Slam semi-final where she defeated Kristyna Plíšková of the Czech Republic. She was defeated by Kristyna's twin sister Karolína Plíšková in the final. In the 2010 Wimbledon junior singles she reached the semi-finals, losing to Sachie Ishizu of Japan.

Read more about this topic:  Laura Robson

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